A U.S. jury has decided that Apple Corp. did not act improperly when one of its software updates restricted music purchases on iPods to the company's iTunes digital store.
The California jury Tuesday found in favor of Apple in a billion-dollar class action lawsuit filed by a group of individuals and companies that purchased iPods. They sought about $350 million in damages from Apple.
After Real Networks developed RealPlayer, which allowed music purchased there to play on iPods, Apple introduced a software update that restricted the iPod to music bought on iTunes. The company said the upgrade was meant to improve the iPod user experience.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers told jurors that legitimate improvements are allowed under antitrust law, regardless of their effect on competitors.
According to a Reuters news analysis, under U.S. law a company cannot be found anti-competitive if a product alteration is an improvement for customers.
The case was filed nearly 10 years ago and dates to a time when anti-piracy software prevented iPods from playing songs downloaded from competing online outlets. Apple phased out the restrictive software several years ago.
The plaintiffs are a group of individuals and businesses who purchased iPods from 2006 to 2009.