Music to Apple's ears: $1 billion iPod lawsuit faces collapse

A billion dollar lawsuit against Apple is facing collapse.

Apple has been accused of anti-competitive behaviour between September 2006 and March 2009, by restricting music downloaded to iPods to only those bought over Apple’s music selling service.

In that time, anyone who owned an iPod could only listen to music bought through Apple, while music bought on competitive services like RealNetworks could not be played back.

Apple even went so far as to create software that scanned iPods for music downloaded through other services and, while syncing the device with iTunes, blocked the devices and asked for a factory settings restore.

After the restore, only music bought through Apple would reappear.

Lawyers representing consumers and businesses claim this meant Apple could inflate the prices of iPods in an anti-competitive matter.

However, lawyers for Apple have presented new evidence, claiming the two women named as plaintiffs didn’t buy iPods covered by the lawsuit.

During the trial on Wednesday, it was revealed that plaintiff Marianna Rosen’s iPod touch was bought on July 2009, while other plaintiff Melanie Wilson’s iPod was also bought outside the relevant timeframe.

"I am concerned that I don't have a plaintiff. That's a problem," Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said at the end of the trial's third day of testimony in Oakland, California, BBC reports.

Lawyer Bonny Sweeny conceded that while Ms Wilson's iPod may not be covered, an estimated eight million consumers are believed to have purchased the affected devices.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers has asked both sides to file written arguments as to how they think the trial should proceed.