After just three hours of deliberation, a federal jury decided yesterday that Apple didn't compete unfairly when it sold music players and songs with copy-protection software that was incompatible with rival devices and music from competing online stores. The jury handed Apple a victory by rejecting a claim from attorneys for consumers and iPod resellers, who were seeking as much as $1 billion in a class-action lawsuit, arguing that Apple was able to overcharge consumers for iPods by making it difficult to switch to a rival music player.
During the trial, the plaintiffs' attorneys played a video of testimony by Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO. They also showed emails between Apple executives that indicated they were concerned about some early efforts by rival companies to sell digital music files that might be played on iPods. But Apple executives testified they were focused on preventing unauthorized copying—which was a big concern of recording labels—and said Apple was worried that digital files from outside sources might compromise the security of its iTunes software. Apple no longer uses the copy-protection software in question, so the ruling has no effect on the company's current practices. (Read more Apple stories.)