Apple asks Judge to dismiss iPod/iTunes Antitrust Litigation

Tue, Apr 19, 2011

Legal, News

A few weeks ago, a US judge gave the prosecution in an on-going legal case against Apple over claims that the Cupertino-based company was abusing its iTunes monopoly the go ahead to interrogate Steve Jobs. The Judge explained that Jobs has “unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge about the issues” at the center of the case and Jobs was subsequently interrogated on April 12.

Now comes news that Robert Mittelstaedt, an attorney for Apple, has asked US District Court Judge James Ware to dismiss the case altogether. Note that the seeds of the case stem from Apple preventing songs downloaded from iTunes from playing on third party hardware. This of course is no longer the case as songs from iTunes are no longer shrouded in DRM.

The lawsuit, however, rages on.

At a recent hearing, Mittelstaedt explained: “Apple’s view is that iPods work better when consumers use the iTunes jukebox rather than third party software that can cause corruption or other problems.”

Apple had cited 58 consumer downloading complaints as the source of its decision to upgrade iPods to exclude other companies’ downloads working with the hand-held devices. Ware asked whether Apple had tried to confirm through scientific tests whether other companies’ downloads were the true cause of consumer complaints.

Mittelstaedt said the company had not done such tests.

A decision on Apple’s push to have the case dismissed is expected by May.

We previously explained the origins of the lawsuit in question thusly, and note that it’s rooted in Apple’s refusal to license its FairPlay DRM scheme to other companies. So yeah, in may respects, this lawsuit is well past its “sell by” date.

So in 2005, Thomas Slattery filed a lawsuit in a California District Court alleging that Apple was in violation of antitrust laws. Slattery’s complaint read in part, ”Apple has turned an open and interactive standard into an artifice that prevents consumers from using the portable hard drive digital music player of their choice.”

A number of similar antitrust lawsuits regarding iTunes DRM have been levied against Apple over the past few years, though most of those claims have since been dropped. The remaining active claims, of which Slattery’s lawsuit is a part of, have since been merged into one under the title, “The Apple iPod iTunes Antitrust Litigation.”

via Bloomberg



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