In 2005, Apple was sued in a class action antitrust case. Nearly ten years later, the case was finally tried, and Apple was found not to have violated any applicable laws. However, given the pervasiveness of digital music and the length of the litigation, it is worthwhile to examine what transpired.
When RealNetworks developed a workaround that allowed iTunes users to manage music that had not been obtained through Apple’s pay service, Apple altered its software, which effectively would cause all non-Apple music to be erased. Apple was sued for $350 million in damages; however, since this case was under antitrust law, an award could have actually been three times that amount as the law provides for treble damages. Apple’s main defense was that it genuinely sought to improve its product; that other music would be deleted was argued to merely be a side effect.
To learn more about this case, read this article that describes the history of the litigation in more detail and this article that discusses the role of innovation. Both include worthwhile information for anyone who runs a business.