Jurors in an Oakland court have been submerged since the beginning of the week in a debate over whether consumers who bought Apple’s iPod between 2006 and 2009 were effectively forced to purchase their music from the California titan’s online iTunes store.
Steve Jobs’ testimony from a few months before his death in October 2011 was played at the hearing Friday.
In excerpts published by online news site “The Verge,” he said that Apple was “very concerned” about retaliatory measures that could be taken by record companies if songs purchased in iTunes and downloaded to an iPod were then copied onto somebody else’s computer.
“We went to great pains to make sure that people couldn’t hack into our digital rights management system because if they could, we would get nasty emails from the labels threatening us that they were going to yank the license,” Jobs said.
He argued that “lots of hackers” were trying to break into the system, and as a result, Apple had to be constantly “revving the iTunes and iPod software, closing any holes that might be in it, or any problems it might have.”
If these changes meant that competitors became locked out, then they were only “collateral damage,” he said.
Plaintiffs in the class-action suit argued that the repeat changes prevented other online music stores — and potentially less expensive ones at that — from adapting their own systems fast enough for their music to be used on the iPod.
This, they said, meant iPod owners had to make purchases on iTunes.
The plaintiffs are claiming $350 million in damages. US law allows the judge to triple that sum.
The trial continues next week.
Jobs died at the age of 56 after battling cancer for several years.
His death came less than two months after ceding company leadership to Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook. (AFP)