Testimony from late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is likely to play a major part, as an antitrust lawsuit filed against Apple in 2005 finally goes to trial. The trial is over Apple’s since abandoned digital right management protection on music sold in the iTunes Store.
The class-action lawsuit filed nearly a decade ago by Thomas Slattery originally alleged that Apple violated federal antitrust laws and California’s unfair competition law by requiring that customers use an iPod to listen to music purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Apple managed to have some claims struck from the complaint in 2005, but was not successful in having the lawsuit dismissed.
The suit originally focused on RealNetworks, who had come up with a workaround for Apple’s DRM back in 2004, allowing songs from its own store to be stored and played on Apple’s iPod. The lawsuit was over Apple’s “refusal to license FairPlay technology to other companies,” however those claims were dismissed in December of 2009.
The pieces of the suit that remain cover an allegation that Apple, in an attempt to monopolize the portable media player and digital music markets, updated FairPlay, the DRM used to lock iTunes songs to a certain Apple device.
Apple has since dropped DRM from its music purchases in 2009, however the lawsuit continued, including 2011 testimony from Steve Jobs, mere months before his death.
Job’s 2011 deposition, along with emails, are expected to play a major role in the lawsuit, with potential damages of around $350 million possibly being levied against Apple if the trial verdict goes against the company.
In one of the already released Jobs emails, he expresses concern that Music Match was launching its own digital storefront, and he wanted to make sure their content could not be used on an iPod.
Other Apple executives expected to testify during the trial include Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, and iTunes head Eddy Cue.
The trial is expected to begin in Oakland, California this week.