Apple hit with iPod-monopoly class-action lawsuit
By Stevie Smith Nov 9, 2007, 13:39 GMT
Apple Inc. is facing a class-action lawsuit accusing it of tying customers to iPod and iTunes in order to create a market monopoly. Credit: Apple.
As Apple Inc. prepares for the British and German launches of its hugely popular iPhone handset, which goes on sale later today, the high-flying computer company is also embroiled in a new class-action lawsuit charging it with illegally tying iPods to the iTunes Store in order to create a monopoly.
The lawsuit lands at Apple’s corporate feet along with accusations that the California-based outfit is using the combined exclusivity of the iPod player and iTunes download portal to facilitate inflated prices as well as pushing out the competition and strong arming consumers into remaining within the Apple-branded environment.
According to industry watcher Apple Insider, a 19-page formal complaint was initially filed against Apple Inc. by Frederick Black of Florida, who filed on behalf of anyone within the state who has suffered the imposed music and media transfer restrictions that come with the purchase of an iPod player and the mandatory accompaniment of its iTunes download service.
Mr. Black claims that such usage restriction, which sees iPod users unable to download music from rival online stores, and also unable to download iTunes music into rival music/media devices, is both unreasonable and illegal under the antitrust and unfair trade laws of Florida.
The plaintive also alleges that Apple’s refusal to license its restrictive FairPlay copy protection technology to other hardware manufacturers helps to maintain reduced competition in the market and unfairly extends the computer company’s continuing dominance.
Mr. Black’s attorney in the case, Tripp Scott, writes in the extensive complaint that Apple’s dominance in the "portable digital media player market, the online music market and the online video market," means the company can wield "sufficient economic power in these markets to control consumer pricing… which has resulted in consumers paying higher prices."
According to details related to the suit, Mr. Black is looking to attain damages exceeding $15,000 USD along with a court order forcing Apple to pay out more than treble that initial amount, pick up the bill for attorney’s bills, and any other costs or damages the court may choose to enforce.