Update — Apple’s statement via CNBC: “We thank the jury for their service and we applaud their verdict.”
A jury has decided that Apple is not guilty of violating antitrust laws in the decade-old lawsuit involving the iPod, iTunes Music Store, and digital rights management usage. The jury had to determine if the iTunes updates affecting customers’ iPods were “genuine product improvements” with Apple citing security concerns for implementing the usage of DRM.
Had the jury decided Apple did violate antitrust laws through its practices, the company could have been responsible for damages of up to $1 billion.
However, Apple argued throughout the trial that it had to implement the use of strict DRM when syncing music with the iPod from iTunes to avoid piracy. Apple maintained its position that its practices were intended to ensure security on its part due to its commitment with the music industry to safely distribute digital music.
From its start, the trial was an interesting showcase from the courtroom with a video taped deposition of Steve Jobs showing the late Apple co-founder taking a jab at Real Networks in 2011, plaintiffs being ejected from the trial due to iPods not qualifying for the class action lawsuit, and the case almost being thrown out before it reached the jury.
The jury’s decision finding Apple not guilty of violating antitrust laws was unanimous.