Apple has prevailed in a long-standing iTunes action which claims the company has acted monopolistically in the way iTunes works seamlessly with the iPod/iPhone family, and no other devices.
The complaint alleges illegal "tying" in violation of the Sherman Act, monopolization in violation of the Sherman Act, and violations of California’s Cartwright Act, unfair-competition law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
U.S. District Judge James Ware of the Northern District of California denied certification of a damages class in the suit, a decision which reflected the credibility of the expert witnesses fielded as part of the hearing which attempted to secure class action status for the case.
The lawsuit describes Apple as holding 83 per cent of the US online music market, 75 per cent of online video and over 90 per cent of the market for hard drive-based music players.
The lawsuit alleges Apple has used its dominance in these three markets to create a closed system in which the iPod will play only files purchased from iTunes, and iTunes files will work only on the iPod. The argument rests on whether Apple has restricted consumer choice in its business behaviours.
(Let’s skip iTunes Plus, as music was sold in proprietary DRM-shrouded format at the time this case was filed).
Plaintiff Stacie Somers was attempting to certify both a damages class and an injunctive class action on behalf of everyone in the US who bought an iPod between Dec. 31, 2003 and whatever future date this case ends.
The case is: Somers v. Apple Inc., No. C 07-06507 JW, 2009 WL 2137148 (N.D. Cal., San Jose Div. July 17, 2009).
You can view the entire 24 page filing here.
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