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  • Apple's iPod/iTunes Class-Action Lawsuit is Now in the Hands of the Jury

    Closing arguments in Apple’s iPod/iTunes ecosystem class-action lawsuit were recently made with each side arguing their case for what would be a $1 billion penalty for Apple. According to in-court reports plaintiffs targeted Apple’s iTunes 7.0 software update stating that security tweaks that came as part of the update “knocked out competitors” like RealNetworks. More specifically iTunes 7.0 broke compatibility with RealNetworks’ Harmony, a technology created to thwart FairPlay DRM and allow users to playback on their iPods music not purchased from the iTunes Music Store. This change according to the plaintiff introduced “switching costs” that discouraged existing iPod users from leaving Apple’s ecosystem when it came time to upgrade hardware.

    The plaintiff then went on to reassert claims about a software error which reportedly wiped an iPod’s library of songs that weren’t purchased or imported through iTunes. He continued by saying the following in court:

    I liken it to blowing up your iPod. It's worse than a paperweight. You could lose everything.
    Apple’s lead counsel, William Isaacson said the following in response to the point:

    There is no evidence this ever happened. There is no evidence anyone went through the restore process and ever had this happen. Not even a complaint about it.
    During the proceedings, Apple argued its iPod and iTunes security measures were installed to protect users from potentially malicious software which was outside of their control. Augustin Farrugia, the company’s security director, testified in court that Apple was “very paranoid” in implementing an extremely protected digital music service, especially when it came to possible pirated music and malware. Jobs had said the same during a deposition videotaped just months before his death in 2011.

    In Jobs’ view, Apple’s iTunes revisions targeted DRM hacks which were prevalent at the time. According to him, Apple “constantly” revised both iTunes and iPod software to keep out what the company considered to be hackers. Another concern was the series of deals made with record labels to sell music through iTunes. Without protections and assurances that owned content wouldn’t be pirated, iTunes would lose backing from content owners. Although the statements remain plausible, former Apple FairPlay engineer, Rod Schultz disagreed, stating that the company’s DRM deployment “intended to block 100% of non-iTunes clients” and “keep out third-party players.” Apple on the other hand maintained that all iTunes, iPod and FairPlay enhancements were made to protect consumers and foster innovation in the digital music space.

    Isaacson said the following in his closing statements:

    We now have a plaintiff that is asking you to hold Apple liable for innovating, for providing security, that is what they are asking you to do. They are doing that and asking you to hold us liable for providing consumers a choice, for providing integrated products, for providing iPod plus iTunes, and saying that's how our products work best.
    The jury is set to decide whether Apple is accountable for $350 million worth of damages, an amount that would automatically trebled to more than $1 billion under US antitrust laws.

    Source: The Verge
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple's iPod/iTunes Class-Action Lawsuit is Now in the Hands of the Jury started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Truffol's Avatar
      Truffol -
      This is simply a bunch of moral-less lawyers hoping to strong-arm big corporations into settlements via class action lawsuits. I hope they don't get their way.