Consumers are arguing that by requiring iPod users to buy music only via the iTunes store, Apple violated anti-competition laws.
The plaintiffs, which include individuals and businesses that bought iPods between 2006 and 2009, are seeking approximately $350 million for restricting access to competing services – an amount that would be automatically tripled because of antitrust laws.
Several emails from the early days of the iPod detail Jobs’ plan to keep the lion’s share of the digital music industry by allowing only music bought on the iTunes store (or from a CD) to play on an iPod.
Jobs was apparently unconcerned about sending missives that would make antitrust lawyers squirm. In 2003, for example, he wrote an e mail toApple executives about software maker Musicmatch launching a digital music store.
“We need to make sure that when Music Match launches their download music store they cannot use iPod,” he noted. “Is this going to be an issue?”
The next year, Jobs was worried about Real Networks launching a music service that could play on iPods without Apple’s blessing.
"How's this?" Jobs wrote in email regarding a 2004 press release about Real’s digital music store. "We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod.”
In response, Philip Schiller, Apple’s marketing head – then and now – claimed, “I like likening them to hackers.”
Eventually, Apple updated its software so music bought from Real could not play on iPods, an action the plaintiffs claim forced consumers to keep buying Apple devices over rival music players.
Apple’s lawyers argue that the company did not have a monopoly on the music player market and that there is no legal mandate for Cupertino to open its devices to competitive services.
Opening statements began in an Oakland, California federal court.