By Nishat Khan
Throughout its journey in the electronics industry, Apple has become quite familiar with the courtroom. Apple’s latest case involves its routine deletion of songs from users’ iPods that were not bought from iTunes.
When Apple first released the iPod, the creators went to great lengths to ensure that users could only listen to music either bought off of iTunes, or downloaded from a CD. In this class-action suit against Apple, Apple was said to have abused its monopoly-like powers over the sale of music in order to block out competitors. The trial began last Tuesday, December 2nd in Oakland, California, and was scheduled to last nine days.
Plaintiffs Marianna Rosen and Melanie Wilson have said that Apple’s music prices are too high, and since they both use Apple devices, they are forced to buy music from iTunes when they could be buying from a cheaper seller. The case was first filed on January 3rd in 2005. The two women are directly involved in the case, while the lawsuit was also filed on behalf of about 8 million consumers, and hundreds of big-name retailers including Best Buy and Walmart.
Apple said that forcing users to buy off of iTunes is to make sure that the content is safe. Until recently, iTunes was the one and only store which users could buy music from that was compatible with their iPods. Now, music can be bought from Amazon as well.
The case only involves the following iPods: the iPod U2 Special Edition; the first, second, third, and fourth generations of the iPod Nano; the first and second generations of the iPod Touch; the first, second, and third generations of the iPod Shuffle; and the fifth and sixth generation of the iPod Classic. The plaintiffs are asking Apple for $350 million.
In the long run, Apple doesn’t have much to lose. $350 million isn’t a lot compared to its $128.8 billion sales this year. However, if Apple loses the case, its reputation could be tarnished. The case does have a potential to succeed, and if it does, many consumers will be awarded a huge refund However, we can’t genuinely predict the future, and only the actual result will set the stage for the future.