Dec 04, 2014 05:05 PM EST
In what's turning out to be the class-action lawsuit of the decade, plaintiffs are suing technology power-house Apple Inc., calling into question their unnecessary software updates that they claim kept iPod prices artificially high and kept competitors off electronics shelves. But it's not the circumstances of the case, nor the claims of the plaintiffs that make this particular lawsuit of any interest. It's whom the defense will call to the stand.
More than three years ago, Apple cofounder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs passed away at his home in Palo Alto. But luckily for defense attorneys hired by Apple to spearhead the case, Jobs made a few comments on the iPod and iTunes fiasco facing the courts now, some four years later. And this week the court can expect to hear a deposition made by the deceased in defense of his legacy item, the iPod and its software iTunes.
The trial, which is expected to last nine days in court before a verdict will be rendered, will decide whether Apple's MP3 players, the iPod franchise, may have been overpriced since the start. And the court will also evaluate whether or not Apple's tactics to keep competitors and their music out of iTunes software was ethical or simply a way to artificially inflate prices. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that Apple's early policies restricted iTunes users from playing purchased music on competitors MP3 players, not only stifling competition but also keeping iPod prices high - hurting competitors, and more importantly, consumers in the process.
"Apple made those changes to its software after top executives at Apple learned that competitors had figured out a way to have their songs played on the iPod" lead plaintiff's attorney, Bonny Sweeney says. "And there was a concern by Apple that this would eat into their market share."
But Apple's lead attorney William Isaacson is saying that's not quite true. Pointing out a major flaw in the plaintiff's case, wherein the time frame called into question marked a period when iPod storage increased dramatically, while prices either fell or remained constant, the defense attorney says that the case has little to no validity in its argument.
However, in the end, it may be some of Steve Jobs' final words that will save the company from a major hit the lawsuit could cause, not only in monetary fines but also in business for all their "iProducts". Not to mention that this case could very well cause a trickle-down effect by creating a precedence that Apple's competitors could use against them in court.
Plaintiffs Marianna Rosen and Melanie Wilson leading the case are seeking $350 million in restitution, however, they won't be the only ones looking to claim some money from the technology super-power that is Apple. Now a class-action lawsuit, the damages could potentially be awarded to as many as 8 million individuals who purchased an iPod between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009.
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