Not Guilty Verdict: Apple found not guilty in in iPod antitrust trial

Not Guilty Verdict: Apple found not guilty in in iPod antitrust trial

Apple received a Not Guilty Verdict in the anti-competitive case against them on Tuesday

The not guilty verdict for Apple came after approximately 2 weeks of hearing arguments from both sides and less than four hours of deliberation before Apple was found not guilty of anti-competitive practices by the jury in the Apple’s class action antitrust case.

The antitrust case against Apple has been going for almost ten-year-old antitrust alleging the company anticompetitive conduct harmed consumers and had deliberately prevent third-party music services from using it’s services by locking iPods and iTunes to its own ecosystem, which in turn caused prices for Apple products to increased raised the price of Apple’s products.

At the heart of the case was a 2006 update to Apple iTunes music store to iTunes 7.0. The jury had to decide whether an update to Apple’s iTunes music store rolled out in 2006 was a genuine product improvements or it was done to deliberately barred competing services from using Apple services. iTunes 7.0, as it was called, introduced video, album art and numerous other features for the desktop software and its companion iPod software. The released also improved security by adding a security feature that disabled a consumer’s iPod if it detected songs from competing music stores that had reverse-engineered Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management technology. That technology restricted how a digital music file could be played based on the terms of Apple’s deals with record labels. The updated software demanded consumers restore the iPod to factory settings, effectively deleted those competing music stores’ songs.

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The plaintiffs are expected to appeal the not guilty verdict decision, said Patrick Coughlin, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs were asking for damages of $350 million, which could have gone up to $1 billion under antitrust law.

“We thank the jury for their service and we applaud their verdict,” Apple said in a statement. “We created iPod and iTunes to give our customers the world’s best way to listen to music. 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.”

Under the Sherman Antitrust Act, a genuine product improvement cannot be considered anticompetitive, even if it harms competitor’s products. “A company has no general legal duty to assist its competitors, including by making products interoperable, licensing to competitors or sharing information to competitors,” Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the US District Court in Northern California told the jurors Monday prior to closing arguments.