Apple Accused of Deleting Non-iTunes Songs from Users' iPods

Apple Accused of Deleting Non-iTunes Songs from Users' iPods
Some old ghosts are coming back to haunt Apple this week, as the tech giant is on trial for a class action lawsuit that dates all the way back to 2005. The antitrust case contends that Apple attempted to secure a stranglehold on the market by blocking consumers from using music purchased from other companies.

While the suit goes back to 2005, some of the evidence is more recent than that. The Wall Street Journal reports that, yesterday (December 3), lawyer Patrick Coughlin contended in U.S. District Court in Oakland, CA, that Apple knowingly erased music from users' iPods between 2007 and 2009 if it were purchased from rivals.

Apparently, when users tried to sync up this non-iTunes music to their iPods, they would receive an error message that told them to restore the factory settings. Once they did, the music in question would be gone.

"You guys decided to give them the worst possible experience and blow up," Coughlin said.

Apple security director Augustin Farrugia argued that such measures were for security reasons.

"We don't need to give users too much information," he said in regards to the vague error messages. "We don't want to confuse users."

The company was apparently worried about hackers breaking into the system.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died in 2011, but a videotaped deposition from the CEO will be used as evidence. Other Apple execs are expected to take the stand.

The plaintiffs are seeking $350 million in damages, claiming that Apple's actions drove up prices, but antitrust laws mean that these damages could be tripled. In other words, this could be a billion-dollar suit if it goes badly for Apple.