In Apple’s recent iPod/iTunes antitrust lawsuit, plaintiffs' lawyers claimed Apple secretly deleted songs not purchased through the iTunes Music Store from users’ iPods and synced their devices with their iTunes library.

As explained by the folks over at The Wall Street Journal, users attempting to sync an iPod with an iTunes library containing music from a rival service such as RealNetworks would end up seeing an error message without prompting them to perform a factory reset. After restoring the device, users would end up finding their non-iTunes music gone. Attorney Patrick Coughlin said the following regarding the matter:

You guys decided to give them the worst possible experience and blow up.
It’s unclear if iTunes or the iPod encountered a legitimate problem though Coughlin seems to be intimating Apple manufactured the error message as part of a method to stop customers from using their iPod to play back music from stores other than iTunes. For its part, Apple claimed that system was a safety measure installed to protect users. In its testimony, Apple security director Augustin Farrugia claimed that the company didn’t need to provide additional information about the errors. He said the following regarding the matter:

We don’t need to give users too much information. We don’t want to confuse users.
He went on to say that Apple was “very paranoid” in its protection of iTunes. This was a sentiment which was also seen by Jobs in his video testimony. Furthermore, information revealed from Jobs’ emails and a videotaped deposition showcased that Apple was generally nervous about breaking contractual sales agreements with music labels, which in turn prompted an increased interest in digital rights management (DRM). Although iTunes doesn’t sell DRM-protected content, Jobs said frequent iTunes updates were required to keep hackers from abusing workarounds.

The case is set to continue this week so we’ll have to wait and see what other information surfaces.

Source: The Wall Street Journal