Apple Deleted iPod Owners' Songs Downloaded From Competing Music Services Between 2007 and 2009

Between 2007 and 2009, Apple stealthily deleted content that iPod owners had downloaded from rival music services, reports The Wall Street Journal. The information came to light during an ongoing class action iPod lawsuit that Apple is fighting in court this week, where the Cupertino company is accused of having violated antitrust law by locking its original iPods to the iTunes ecosystem.

According to plaintiff attorney Patrick Coughlin, a user who downloaded music from a competing music service to iTunes and then tried to sync the content to an iPod would receive a nondescript error message. The vague message would advise the iPod owner to restore the device to its factory settings, deleting the music that had been downloaded from a rival service and preventing it from being played.

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Apple security director Augustin Farrugia defended the vague error message, stating that Apple didn't want to "confuse users" by providing them with too much information. Farrugia also said the company's efforts to delete music acquired from third-party sources was done in an effort to protect consumers from hackers and malicious content.

Yesterday, lawyers for the plaintiffs shared both a videotaped deposition and emails written by Steve Jobs as evidence that Apple had deliberately stymied competing music services after the launch of the iPod. In the correspondence, the former Apple CEO hatched a plan to accuse competing music service RealNetworks of hacking the iPod when it offered song downloads that could be played on the device.

The class action lawsuit began on Tuesday of this week and is being heard in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. Both Apple marketing head Phil Schiller and iTunes chief Eddy Cue are expected to testify during the court proceedings.

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Top Rated Comments

timshundo Avatar
126 months ago
Horribly innacurate title.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jontech Avatar
126 months ago
Good thing iPods are pretty much dead now. Online music streaming is where it's at.

No playing my library on the phone I already own is where it's at
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
8CoreWhore Avatar
126 months ago
Shame on Macrumors for link baiting, treating this lawyer's silly accusation as true without explaining what is really happening.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DEMinSoCAL Avatar
126 months ago
More Big Brother behavior from Apple. We now need them to decide for us when and how to protect us from hackers and malicious content? And to use that excuse is ridiculous. If they got caught doing this, what else do they do?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WolfSnap Avatar
126 months ago
iTunes content is licensed, not sold. Same with other services. Each user agreed to the license conditions.

Apple also had documentation on how to REMOVE the DRM from its music, how to rip from CD's, and more. If others are upset over licensing music from other services that did not allow the content's DRM to be removed, that's not Apple's fault.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BryanElliott Avatar
126 months ago
1. Shame on Apple for doing this if it is true.

2. Why does it take THIS long for someone to throw a fit about an issues ?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)