Apple did not intentionally delete music from users’ iPods, jury finds

Company was accused of deleting music purchased from third parties

Apple has been found not guilty of intentionally deleting music from users’ iPods.

The company was facing potential penalties of up to US$1 billion after being accused of anti-competitive practices for the period between 2006 and 2009, particularly the purposeful deletion of music from users’ iPods if they had been purchased from any markets that competed with iTunes. But a not guilty verdict was reached by a jury in just three hours after it took the plaintiffs almost 10 years to bring the case to trial.

Apple had argued that the updates were part of enhanced security measures and an improved user experience, and that any blocking from third party retailers was an incidental side effect.

The prosecution’s case was damaged when, halfway through the trial, Apple appealed for the court to dismiss the two plaintiffs, who it found did not actually purchase the iPods they were suing over. But the judge allowed the prosecution to carry on with the case, despite a lack of plaintiffs. “There’s not one piece of evidence of a single individual who lost a single song, not even a complaint about it,” Apple’s lead lawyer William Isaacson said.

A statement from Apple later read: “We created iPod and iTunes to give our customers the world’s best way to listen to music. 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 case also brought forth a video deposition from Steve Jobs, recorded six months before his death in October 2011.