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US: Late Steve Jobs continues crucial role in Apple antitrust suits

 |  December 1, 2014

Three years after Steve Jobs’s death, the Apple founder continues to play a vital role in Apple lawsuits.

This time, Apple is set to begin trial today in a lawsuit accusing the technology company of violating antitrust law by forcing iPod customers to play songs downloaded only from the iTunes store or uploaded from CDs.

Plaintiffs argue Apple harmed competition and forced consumers to pay higher prices for iTunes music as opposed to music downloaded from iTunes competitors.

It’s the third major antitrust lawsuit filed against Apple in which Jobs will play a crucial, postmortem role, reports say.

Litigators will use Jobs’s past emails as evidence, as well as a videotaped deposition recorded before his death.

Similar evidence was used in two previously lawsuits. One involved a group of Silicon Valley technology employees, who accused Apple and other companies of colluding to not hire each other’s workers in an effort to suppress wages. The other involved the US Department of Justice’s investigation and subsequent lawsuit against Apple on allegations of eBook price-fixing.

Experts say that Apple has its work cut out for it when it comes to giving Jobs’s emails a positive spin. Rutgers School of Law professor Michael A. Carrier told reporters that while Jobs was an innovative “genius,” “it went along with a really healthy ego and perhaps the lack of an antitrust filter – thinking about how these words would appear years later tossed up on the screen in front of a jury.”

Other experts say Jobs will likely present an impression of an eager businessman fighting to conserve the success of the iPod.

In the previous two antitrust cases, Jobs’s words served in favor of plaintiffs. Reports say Apple will likely argue that software updates, which plaintiffs say perpetuated the iPod’s ability to only play music from iTunes of CDs, was merely to improve performance of the device.

Plaintiffs are seeking about $350 million in damages, according to reports.

Full content: NYTimes

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