Apple Removed Songs Bought Via Rival Music Services from Customers’ iPods

As Steve Jobs’ emails are being used against Apple in an antitrust lawsuit, the company is also being accused of deleting songs from consumers’ iPods that were purchased from rival music services between 2007 and 2009. During a court session at the U.S District Court in Oakland, California, Apple confirmed that it had deleted non-iTunes music but argued that it was a legitimate security measure.

During this time period, consumers who tried to sync their iPods, which had non-iTunes music on it to their iTunes library, would receive an error message that would instruct them to restore their device to its factory settings. However, when users restored the settings, the music from rival services disappeared with Apple directing the system, Attorney Patrick Coughlin pointed out, “not to tell users the problem.”

Because of this, the plaintiffs claim that Apple forced them to pay more for iPods.

iPod Touch
Image Credit: Flickr (Niki Odolphie)

Apple, however, countered by stating that this practice was a legitimate security measure. Apple security director Augustin Farrugia testified that the reasons why the company didn’t offer a more detailed explanation was because, “We don’t need to give users too much information” and “We don’t want to confuse users.”

Farrugia went on to explain that Apple was “very paranoid” about protecting iTunes due to hackers and that deletion of non-Apple music files was for protecting consumers from system break-ins saying, “The system was totally hacked.”

Plaintiffs in the decade-old, class-action lawsuit are seeking $350 million in damages. However, that amount could be tripled under antitrust laws.

The jurors are expected to hear from a Stanford economist who claims that Apple inflated the price of iPods by nearly $350 million, view a video testimony from Steve Jobs filmed six months before he died, and testimonies from Apple head of marketing Phil Schiller and Apple software chief Eddy Cue later this week.