Attorneys: Apple Willfully Deleted Rivals’ Music from iPods

Attorneys: Apple Willfully Deleted Rivals’ Music from iPods

Apple intentionally deleted rival music services’ songs from consumers’ iPods between 2007 and 2009 and did not inform iPod owners of the changes, attorneys for consumers argued in an Oakland courthouse Wednesday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, iPod owners who purchased music off of competing services, such as Rhapsody Music, found they could not sync that purchased music with their devices. iPod users were reportedly greeted with an error message when they tried to sync, then were prompted to restore the factory settings of their devices. Once the factory reset was complete, the music that had been purchased off of rival services was missing.

The consumers, as plaintiffs in the case, are seeking a $350 million antitrust judgement against Apple, claiming that Apple unfairly muzzled competing music services and, as a result, consumers were forced to pay more to use iPods.

“You guys decided to give them the worst possible experience and blow up” users’ music libraries, attorney Patrick Coughlin reportedly told the judges.

Apple security director Augustin Farrugia told jurors that the deleting of rival services’ songs was a security measure intended to combat hacking, and that Apple did not inform iPod owners because “we don’t want to confuse users.”

“We don’t need to give users too much information,” Farrugia reportedly told the judge.

Should Apple lose the case, they could be forced to pay triple damages under the “treble damages” statute, a statute that allows for tripling awarded damages for certain violations, including antitrust cases.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the trial is expected to continue this week, with Apple software executive Eddie Cue and head of marketing Phil Schiller expected to testify in the coming days. A videotaped 2011 deposition from Steve Jobs is also expected to be played for jurors this week.