Jury Sides With Apple in iPod Antitrust Lawsuit

Dec 17, 2014 06:30 AM EST | Matt Mercuro

On Tuesday, Apple won an antitrust trial when a U.S. jury decided the Cupertino-based company didn't act improperly by restricting music purchases for iPod owners to Apple's iTunes digital store.

The decision was read in an Oakland, California federal court, according to Reuters. The plaintiffs were a group of businesses and individuals who purchases iPods from 2006 to 2009. They were looking for $350 million in damages from Apple, claiming the company blocked competing device manufacturers.

Patrick Coughlin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told Reuters that "the jury called it like they saw it."

"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," Apple said in a press statement about the verdict.

It took jurors only a few hours of deliberation on the sole question of whether the update had benefited consumers or not. A company can't be found anticompetitive if a product change was an improvement for customers, under U.S. law.

Jurors agreed with Apple, meaning they didn't have to decide any other legal issues or damages. Jurors didn't speak to the media after the decision was announced.

During the trial, a video deposition testimony was given by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs before he died back in 2011.

Apple was challenged by Real Networks in the online music market with the introduction of RealPlayer, its own digital song manager, plaintiffs argued. The service included software which let users download music purchased there on to iPods and other competing devices.

Apple introduced a software update that restricted where iPod users purchased their music. Plaintiffs believed that the step discouraged iPod owners from being able to buy songs from where they wanted to when it came time to upgrade.

Apple argued in court that the software update was meant to improve consumer experience and contained desirable features, like movies and auto-synchronization, according to Reuters.

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