Apple is scheduled to begin yet another antitrust lawsuit tomorrow in Oakland, Calif.
And while it’s been three years since Steve Jobs has died, the late Apple founder will still play a large role in the case, reports The New York Times.
The class action lawsuit against Apple concerns the company’s old iPods, which were originally only able to play music purchased from iTunes or ripped from a CD. If customers wanted to purchase songs from a competing music download store, they couldn’t use their iPod to listen.
Apple later changed this policy, opening up the iPod’s compatibility.
The case, which features over 900 filings, argues that Apple used anticompetitive measures to make sure its iPods only played songs from iTunes or CDs.
If Apple loses the case, potential damages are estimated to be around $US350 million.
To prove Apple’s anticompetitive measures, emails written from Steve Jobs are expected to play an important role in the case, along with a video deposition recorded before his death. This should worry Apple, as Steve Jobs was known for his blunt and sometimes threatening emails, which were used against Apple in its two past antitrust cases.
“We will present evidence that Apple took action to block its competitors and in the process harmed competition and harmed consumers,” Bonny Sweeney, the lead plaintiffs’ lawyer told The New York Times.
Some of the emails are already public, including one email from 2003 where Steve Jobs instructed other Apple executives to ensure rival music store, Musicmatch, wouldn’t work with the iPod.
“We need to make sure that when Musicmatch launches their download music store they cannot use iPod. Is this going to be an issue?” Jobs wrote, according to The New York Times.
While some of the emails from Jobs are public, new emails are expected to surface throughout the course of the trial.
In addition to the emails and video deposition from Jobs, Apple executives Philip Schiller and Eddy Cue are expected to testify. Schiller is Apple’s head of marketing. Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, is also in charge of the iTunes Store.
To fight against accusations of anticompetitive practices, Apple will likely need to prove that updates to iTunes, like the one that prevented Musicmatch songs from playing on the iPod, were responsible for introducing improvements for consumers rather than restricting what they could listen to on iPods.
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