Not Guilty: Apple Cleared of Wrongdoing in Billion Dollar iTunes DRM Antitrust case
December 17, 2014
Jury deliberations for the long running iTunes and iPod antitrust lawsuit lasted less than four hours and came back in Apple's favour. The Verge broke the story first that the jury found Apple not guilty of harming consumers by implementing anticompetitive practices.
The class action suit focused on Apple's 2006 update to its iTunes software which meant only iPods could play music purchased from the store. The plaintiffs had alleged that Apple had deliberately hampered third-party music services by locking iPods and iTunes to its own ecosystem.
The case arose because of a specific iTunes 7.0 update that, it was alleged, disabled the DRM workarounds put in place by RealNetworks, a competing music service, allowing its music to be played on the iPod.
Consumers alleged this violated US antitrust laws, and sued for $350m (£222m) in damages.
The case gathered many headlines worldwide because of the posthumous testimony provided by Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, through e-mails and a video deposition recorded six months before his death.
The plaintiffs in the trial, a rumoured 8 million iPod customers and 500 resellers, were asking for damages of $350 million, which could have increased to over $1 billion, as anti-competition damage rewards are automatically tripled under US law.
In a statement, Apple said "We thank the jury for their service and we applaud their verdict … We created iPod and iTunes to give our customers the world’s best way to listen to music. Every time we've updated those products — and every Apple product over the years — we’ve done it to make the user experience even better."