Apple’s 2006 iTunes tweaks likened to poison candy bar

“Apple Inc.’s changes to iTunes in 2006 were like a new-and-improved candy bar that’s bigger, has more chocolate and contains a toxic preservative making it lethal, a consumer lawyer said in a bid to convince a jury the iPod maker wanted to kill competition and not upgrade its music service,” Karen Gullo reports for Bloomberg.

“Patrick Coughlin, an attorney for consumers, made his final pitch [on Monday] in federal court in Oakland, California, citing e-mails from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs that urged his staff to leverage iTunes dominance in digital music and testimony by a former company engineer who he said contradicted Apple’s claim that the software changes were aimed at boosting security,” Gullo reports. “Jurors began deliberations today over whether the evidence at trial showed that Apple’s changes to iTunes were genuine product enhancements.”

“If they vote yes, Cupertino-California-based Apple will defeat an antitrust case with the potential for $1 billion in damages. A company can’t be held liable for thwarting competition if it made product changes that are genuine improvements, even if the tweaks hurt competitors, the jury was instructed today. If jurors vote no, they will then be asked to decide whether Apple violated antitrust laws,” Gullo reports. “Bill Isaacson, Apple’s lawyer, told jurors today the iTunes modifications were enhancements and that the alleged harm to iPod users was concocted by the consumer lawyers. Those attorneys didn’t produce a single iPod user to testify about songs lost after they’d been downloaded from RealNetworks, Isaacson said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Pfft.

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  1. Probably because any consumers who bought music from RealNetworks are now embarrassed to admit they did it.

    You know what’s a real “toxic preservative”? Keeping the name of a company (or product) years after it’s fallen completely out of favour with the public.

    1. Real networks stole data types on desktop systems so that it was more difficult for users to play media that was not created by Real. It’s reasonable for a Apple to be afraid that they might try something similar on iPods. If anyone is left wondering how Apple could come to the conclusion that user experience could be at risk, this should shed some light on that. The way they harmed user experience on the Mac should be evidence enough.

  2. This is beyond an “Apple Fanboy” complaint stage. This case is ridiculous and the language used is in direct contradiction with the facts. There is no statute or law or decree that forces any company to accept the efforts of a competitor to break into its software or systems to sell to said companies customers. There is no requirement what so ever for any company to freeze its software development at any stage as we know what the dangers are regarding software that never gets updated. Add to that

    1. If you are talking about the woman who got 2nd degree burns (not “scalding her hands), you should read up on the actual case, instead of the press releases by the McDonald’s lawyer.

      It is impressive how many jurors said they thought it was nonsense going in, and had their minds changed by the information revealed during the trial.

  3. Class action lawsuits, in general, area a way for lawyers to collect money for themselves, all the while professing that they are saving “the little guy”. This is a perfect example.

  4. Ms Gullo and Bloomberg need to get their language straight. The lawyers do not in any way represent consumers. They represent the plaintiffs in the case. And any settlement will largely go to the the lawyers, so they actually represent themselves. The thought they represent anyone else is soft-headed.

  5. “A toxic preservative, making it lethal”. Jeese, he makes it sound like they killed somebody.

    Help, I can’t play this song that I pirated. I am dying. Somebody call me a lawyer.

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