A billion-dollar anti-trust lawsuit against Apple has begun in the United States. The company is being accused of using “unfair tactics” to enable it to stay ahead of their rivals in the digital music business.
Attorneys are representing 8 million Apple iPod users and resellers; emails sent by the former Apple CEO Steve Jobs are playing a crucial role in the case. It is alleged that Apple began an internal campaign once they learned that a competitor was preparing to launch a new service that would allow its users to purchase music from a variety of sources and then play it on an Apple iPod.
During to the trial it will be argued that Apple made changes to the iPod and iTunes software so that it was impossible for music to be played if it had been brought from a rival store. Bonny Sweeney, the attorney for the plaintiffs, explained to the jury that it stifled competition for Apple’s rivals, and allowed the company to sell the iPod at increased prices.
During the early days of the trial, jurors will also be shown an email from Steve Jobs, which referred to the Music Match launch. The Guardian reports that Jobs stated “We need to make sure that when Music Match launches … they cannot use iPod.”
As the trial goes on, a Stanford economist will allege that the company overcharged buyers of its iPod by $350 million. If the decision goes against Apple, it could end up paying three times that amount in fines. However, lawyers for Apple will argue at the figures are flawed and that Apple had “legitimate competitive reasons” for making changes to its software.
Video footage featuring Jobs giving testimony in a 2011 deposition will feature in the trial; the statements given by Jobs are likely to play a significant part as they have done in previous Apple anti-trust cases. In an earlier trial, Apple stood accused of conspiring with publishers over book prices and another anti-trust case heard allegations of an agreement between technology firms not to poach staff from each other.