Competition

Apple Accused of Deliberately Deleting Competitors' Songs on iPods

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC
2 min read

Highly anticipated court proceedings got underway this week in California as tech-giant Apple has to defend itself in a class-action antitrust lawsuit claiming it took illegal steps to keep its monopoly in the digital music playing business in tact.

A now nearly decade-old class action lawsuit argues that Apple went to illegal measures to maintain that monopoly power on its iPod by deleting songs that customers downloaded with any other music service other than iTunes on iPods purchased between 2006 and 2009, according to court documents filed in California earlier this fall.

Attorney Patrick Coughlin explained to the court that when competitor’s music was downloaded onto the iPod, an error message would display and would tell the customer to restore the device to factory settings. Once completed, all rival music services would no longer be available.

Related: Apple's $450 Million eBook Settlement Gets Final Court Approval

As part of the court proceedings, testimony from legendary, and since deceased, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is being played, according to reports. Copies of emails that Jobs wrote are also being brought up for consideration during the case, reportedly.

The plaintiffs want financial remunerations to compensate for what they argue were artificially high prices for iPods maintained due to Apple’s actions to enforcing a monopoly. While the plaintiffs are asking for $350 million, Apple could end up paying out as much as $1 billion in damages under antitrust laws, according to reports.

Related: Apple Faces $1 Billion Lawsuit Over iPod Allegations

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