As you’ve probably seen, Apple is facing a major class action antitrust lawsuit over the way it has operated its iTunes/iPod music ecosystem in the past.
Allegations have been flying about how Cupertino blocked iPod owners from purchasing music from rival stores, and indeed as we reported yesterday, even going as far as to delete music purchased from rivals on its iPods (which Apple claimed was all part of legitimate security measures).
Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, has now come forwarded and defended Apple’s policies, saying that they weren’t trying to drown the competition, but rather throw large buckets of water over what the firm considered to be hackers who threatened Cupertino’s music player and store.
C-net reports that Cue told the jury in the trial: “Steve [Jobs] was mighty upset with me and the team whenever we got hacked. If a hack happened, we had to remedy that hack within a certain time period or they [the record labels] would remove all their music from the store.”
Apple constantly updated its software in the battle which it considered key to keeping others from ruining the music ecosystem it was crafting, with the software updates preventing competing music stores from having their tunes run on iPods. Those firing the lawsuit at Apple argue that this was an unfair measure which Cupertino used to keep its dominant position in digital music.
Apple, however, argues that the updates in question brought genuine improvements to the software.
Cue also insisted that Apple had DRM in mind from the very start with iTunes, and didn’t just introduce its ‘FairPlay’ system to block out rivals. He noted: “We thought about licensing the DRM from the beginning. It was one of the things that we thought was the right move and we can expand the market and grow faster. We couldn't find a way to do that and make it work reliably."
Of course, DRM was something that the record labels rather twisted Apple’s arm over, as illustrated in the reference to Jobs above. At any rate, this trial is set to rumble on, doubtless with more controversy to be thrown our way, and $350 million (£220 million) in damages in the balance.