A jury decided Tuesday that Apple wasn’t trying to monopolize digital music when it added FairPlay, a digital rights management technology, to songs it sold on iTunes. The class-action suit against Apple was a decade in the making, but it took jurors just three hours to reach a verdict: Apple wins. The lawsuit covered iPods purchased between September 2006 and March 2009, when only songs purchased in iTunes or imported from CDs would play on the devices.
A jury ruled in favor of Apple Inc. on Tuesday in a class-action lawsuit that accused the technology giant of violating antitrust laws by suppressing competition for its iPod music players. After deliberating for only about three hours, an eight-person jury in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., found that Apple’s iTunes 7.0 was a genuine product improvement, and therefore didn’t violate antitrust laws. The decision was unanimous. Apple applauded the jury’s verdict. “Every time we’ve updated those products—and every Apple product over the years—we’ve done it to make the user experience even better,” the company said in a statement. The plaintiffs had said Apple made changes to its iTunes music service so it was incompatible with other companies’ devices, driving up the price of iPods. The plaintiffs, representing potentially eight million harmed consumers, were seeking $350 million in damages, which could have been tripled under antitrust laws.