The class-action lawsuit against Apple over alleged anticompetitive behavior in how the iPod handled songs from third-party much stores is finally in the hands of a jury. Following last week’s final witness testimony, the jury has started deliberations in the decade-old case.
The evidence and testimony in this case have given us quite a bit of insight into the way Apple operated ten years ago with regards to its iPod and iTunes business. Former CEO Steve Jobs took jabs at rival Real Networks in a videotaped deposition (which the media wants the public to see, but Apple doesn’t). We also learned details of Apple’s contracts with record labels.
The other side of the case ran into quite a bit of trouble, mostly stemming from the fact that the entire list of plaintiffs was disqualified from participating in the suit, which nearly brought the case to an abrupt dismissal. Eventually more plaintiffs were found that could replace those who had dropped out, and the trial continued.
While Apple does admit that iPods with music from stores other than iTunes would show an error message and require a restore before they could be used again, thus deleting the third-party tunes without so much as a friendly heads-up, the court was unable to find anyone who would testify to experiencing this, including the plaintiffs representing the entire class.
Apple’s continues to claim that these deletions were part of a system required by the record labels to prevent piracy, as well as to ensure the integrity of the iPod’s software and protect it against “hackers.”