Apple defeats $1 billion iPod antitrust suit in three hours

“Apple Inc. quickly dispensed with a $1 billion lawsuit by iPod users claiming software updates for the device were meant to block competitors, as a jury ruled for the company after only three hours of deliberations.,” Karen Gullo and Robert Burnson report for Bloomberg News. “Changes to the player’s iTunes software were genuine improvements, jurors in Oakland, California said today, rather than attempts to prevent music sold by rival companies from working on the iPod. ”

“The verdict in the 2005 case came after a two-week trial in federal court that featured Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’s e-mails and videotaped testimony he gave six months before he died of cancer, in 2011,” Gullo and Burnson report. “In the trial, Apple argued that the updates, which enhanced security and guarded against hacking, were in the works two years before competitor RealNetworks Inc. started selling digital music. Claims that Apple “blew up” the iPods of customers who bought music from RealNetworks, to force them to purchase another iPod, were concocted by consumer lawyers who don’t understand iTunes technology, Apple lawyers said.”

“Juror Jerry Kaake said no evidence was produced showing that the software upgrades were intended to thwart RealNetworks, while Apple put on ample proof it was trying to enhance security, including a report from an outside security firm the iPod maker hired and the testimony of a company security executive,” Gullo and Burnson report. “Based on the verdict, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that that the plaintiffs failed to prove that Apple violated federal antitrust laws.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Once again proofing that just because you have a law degree and some state sanctioned that you could practice law (they never get it right, constantly practicing), does not mean you are the brightest bulb on the light string.

    2. Of course the “plaintiffs” will appeal, but in reality it’s the attorneys driving this train. Their firm had invested a huge amount of man hours into this litigation, and if they recover nothing, all these costs will be born by their firm.


  1. Above all companies aren’t obliged to allow competitors to horn in on their technology designed to protect consumers and create a consistent user experience, not anarchy. (Plus they would be profiting from hitching onto Apple’s R&D and device design.) Whoever came up with THAT idea?

    App Store developers which came much later of course are different and accounted for going through Apple security scrutiny.

    Microsoft’s PlaysForSure was designed for all other digital music pretenders, as short lived as it was.

    1. I don’t think having two store choices for music could be called anarchy. What I do think is that anyone familiar with Real Networks software running on the Mac knows how it would cripple other players by snagging file types that it could not play and then sending a message to the user that their computer was not capable of playing that file type. Someone with a bit more computer know-how would also have discovered that their software would allocate memory outside the normal program memory and then not release it every time a media file was played. Inevitably leading to a system crash.

      It’s reasonable based on this to expect Real’s software to eventually behave inappropriately like this if allowed to remain running on iPods.

      1. Well like Lay’s potato chips they couldn’t only allow in only one, if at all. Suddenly there would be multiple players no doubt if one were to get in.

        What you mention is essentially the case Apple makes, and makes for the anarchy, chaos and degradation of the user experience that would result.

    1. It’s a civil case and I don’t think the plaintiffs are allowed to string it out with appeals. Otherwise, plaintiffs with deep pockets could continue to use the courts to harass other people. The only basis for appeal might be an incorrect action on the part of judge or jury. Given that the judge cut the plaintiffs all sorts of slack in the qualified plaintiff issue, I doubt the plaintiffs are silly enough to waste any more money. I could be wrong.

  2. Real justice would allow Apple to sue the crap out of them and try to recover some of their expenses. As the Apple attorney said, “concocted by consumer lawyers who don’t understand iTunes technology”. Basically ambulance chasers looking to make a buck which was apparent because they never had a qualified plaintiff to being with.

    Honestly it’s sad that a judge even let it come to trial.

  3. “were concocted by consumer lawyers who don’t understand iTunes technology”

    They understood the technology, they were just hopping that the jury didn’t. The general public isn’t as dumb when it comes to understanding computer tech as they use to be.

    1. Apple can request the judge for their attorney’s fees and court costs. . . whether they do or not is up to them. Whether the judge does or not is up to her and how ticked off or not she may be at the Attorney Plaintiffs and their antics.

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