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Apple Accused of Deleting Users’ Music in Antitrust Trial

Eddy Cue and Steve Jobs "appear" in court to defend their company from antitrust allegations.

The antitrust trial against Apple is now fully underway, with vice president Eddy Cue taking the stand today in Oakland and the emails of late company founder Steve Jobs already having been cited by plaintiffs. Video footage of Jobs is expected to feature later in the trial.


At issue are two dead (or, at least, effectively dead) technologies: the iPod and digital rights management (DRM) controls on digital music. Apple is accused of trying to keep customers from placing music purchased outside of its iTunes store — music purchased from competitors, or pirated — on their iPods, by using a series of software regulations.

As the New York Times reported yesterday,  plaintiffs are seeking about $350 million in damages from the former tech underdog.

In court today, the Wall Street Journal reports, Apple was accused of purposefully deleting music users had purchased from rival digital retailers by displaying an error message and requesting the user “restore to factory settings.” Apple contends the software updates that led to these errors being displayed were due to security vulnerabilities. “Someone is breaking into our house,” Jobs wrote in an email around that time.

Oh to be a fly on the wall: Currently, as Times reporter Brian X. Chen tweeted, Eddy Cue is giving jurors “a history lesson on how Jobs won negotiations with labels for the iTunes store.”