Jury Out in iPod Antitrust Case

When Apple pushed out a software update for the iPod – years ago – it did so for a reason: to increase the cost for consumers who wanted to switch to newer devices, said an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the iPod antitrust lawsuit (via Reuters).

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Yesterday, both sides presented their closing arguments in court before a jury of eight in Oakland, California, putting an end to two weeks of trial. During this time, the two parties have painted a totally different image of what has happened at Apple and in the digital music business.

Despite the DRM arguments being dated, the class-action lawsuit covers the period between 2006 and 2009. Since then, Apple has dropped the DRM software for music purchases but still uses it in the App Store.

The plaintiffs are seeking about $350 million in damages, but the bill could be as high as $1 billion, under antitrust laws.

Fact is, an Apple engineer told the jurors that the he he worked on a project to block all non-iTunes clients. Apple’s position is that the software update was meant to improve the customer experience and fight music theft.

With the closing arguments presented, the case is now in the hands of the eight-person jury, who will deliberate first whether the software update was indeed for the benefit of consumers. If they agree with Apple, the company can declare itself the winner of the case. If not, the jury will deliberate antitrust issues and damages.