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US: Apple stumbles in last-minute iPod class action challenge

 |  November 19, 2014

Apple failed in its last-minute efforts to break up a class of iPod buyers and retailers suing the technology conglomerate for antitrust violations.

Reports say US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled Tuesday that she will not decertify the retail portion of the class; the group is represented by two individual plaintiffs, one for iPod retailers and one for iPod purchasers. Apple had sought the decertification on grounds that the two sides had different interests that would affect damages calculations.

But Judge Gonzalez Rogers had little sympathy for Apple’s eleventh hour challenge. “To decertify at this juncture on the eve of trial, I think frankly more than anything else severely puts at a disadvantage those unnamed class members,” she said. “And I’m just not willing to do it.”

The judge said she would follow up with a written decision regarding her refusal to decertify the class.

Plaintiffs are accusing Apple of violating antitrust law by issuing iPod software updates that would not allow users to play music downloaded from anywhere other than the Apple iTunes store. The lawsuit alleges that such product tying allowed Apple to create a near-monopoly.

The case has dragged on for about a decade, but finally kicked off with jury selection Wednesday, reports say. The plaintiffs are seeking about $350 million in damages.

Full content: The Recorder

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