Steve Jobs has been dead for three years, yet despite that fact, he is causing problems for the company he helped to build because of emails he previously sent that have been made public. The emails have been used against Apple as it defends itself against various lawsuits. This month, Apple is once again preparing to go to trial for its third major antitrust lawsuit since Jobs died.
Scheduled to begin on Tuesday in Oakland, California, the latest class action lawsuit revolves around the company’s older iPods, which were limited to playing songs sold in the iTunes store or downloaded from CDs. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are consumers who have stated that the company violated antitrust law because consumers were only able to keep their music if they stuck with an iPod which also meant that, eventually, they would have to purchase higher-priced models instead of cheaper alternatives of MP3 players.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers will be using emails sent by Jobs, as well as a videotaped deposition recorded prior to his death, in an effort to show him attempting to protect Apple’s hold on digital music by planning to break a competitor’s product. One of the examples is an email sent in 2003 from Steve Jobs to other Apple executives in which he talked about software company Musicmatch saying, “We need to make sure that when Music Match launches their download music store they cannot use iPod. Is this going to be an issue?”
It’s not the first time that Jobs’ words have been used against Apple, as the trial proceeds, additional emails will be made public. Back in May, several companies including Apple settled a no-hire lawsuit in which plaintiffs alleged that Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel had conspired to suppress salaries in a secret agreement not to poach talent from each other.
In that lawsuit Steve Jobs was painted as the ringleader for this operation, with the plaintiffs pointing to several emails he had written. One such email, sent from Jobs to a Google executive, said, “I am told that Google’s new cellphone software group is relentlessly recruiting in our iPod group. If this is indeed true, can you put a stop to it?”
As for the current iPod lawsuit, the jury is expected to hear from some of apple’s top executives such as head of marketing Phillip W. Schiller and Eddy Cue who oversees iTunes and the company’s other online services.
The plaintiffs are seeking around $350 million in potential damages.