An eight-person federal jury in Oakland, California, has ruled in Apple's favor in a class-action case that questioned if the tech giant had broken antitrust laws with an update of its iTunes software released in 2006. Had Apple lost the case it could have cost the company $1 billion.
The class-action lawsuit accused Apple of starting a music monopoly by releasing iTunes 7.0, which prohibited iPod owners from downloading music to their devices that was purchased from digital stores other than Apple's. The plaintiffs argued this limited consumers' options and allowed Apple to overcharge for iPods.
Apple's lawyers argued that iTunes 7.0 was released to improve its software by upgrading security and adding the ability to play games and watch movies, not hurt consumers, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The tech giant also pointed out that iPod prices fell from 2006 to 2009, the time period covered by the lawsuit.
The judge handling the case asked the jury to decide whether iTunes 7.0 was an improvement over its predecessor since companies cannot be penalized for making changes that better their products. The jury decided it was a meaningful improvement.
The case dates back to 2005, but once the trial began, it was wrapped up in just two weeks. It featured a video deposition of late Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs, and it required that a new plaintiff be appointed just hours before closing arguments after it was found that the original plaintiffs did not own iPods from the time period covered by the lawsuit.