Jury clears Apple of antitrust allegation

Apple's Tim CookFruity cargo cult Apple has managed to convince a jury that deleting rival music from iPods was not really the actions of someone abusing their position in the market to snuff out competition.

The  jury decided Apple did not act improperly when it restricted music purchases for iPod users to Apple’s iTunes digital store.

The plaintiffs, a group of individuals and businesses who bought iPods from 2006 to 2009, sought about $350 million in damages from Apple alleging the company unfairly blocked competing device makers.

Patrick Coughlin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said “the jury called it like they saw it”.

Of course Apple was over the moon.  “Every time we’ve updated those products — and every Apple product over the years — we’ve done it to make the user experience even better,” the company said.

In fact, the jurors deliberated for only a few hours on the sole question of whether the update had benefited consumers. Under US law, a company cannot be found anticompetitive if a product alteration was an improvement for customers.

However the trail revealed that Apple faced a challenge in the online music market from Real Networks, which developed RealPlayer, its own digital song manager. It included software which allowed music purchased there playable on iPods as well as competing devices.

Apple eventually introduced a software update that restricted the iPod to music bought on iTunes. Plaintiffs say that step discouraged iPod owners from buying a competing device when it came time to upgrade.

Apple argued the software update was meant to improve the consumer experience and contained many desirable features, including movies and auto-synchronisation.

The plaintiffs say that they will appeal the verdict