IPod Consumers to Enter Talks With Apple

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Apple faces settlement talks early next week after striking a deal late Monday in the antitrust class action over digital music products like iTunes.
     The order came shortly after Apple attorneys met with representatives for the consumers and resellers who claim Apple monopolized digital music and digital music players between 2006 and 2009 with its iTunes and iPod products.
     U.S. District Judge James Ware called for briefs “focusing on the issue of class damages” in preparation for a settlement conference set Tuesday, May 1. The meeting will carry into May 2 if necessary.
     The briefs are due this Thursday.
     Apple faces claims that its anticompetitive conduct caused consumers to overpay for iPods, in violation of the Sherman Act and California’s Clayton and Cartwright Acts.
     The amended class action filed in 2007 claims that Apple used iPod software and firmware updates to prevent consumers from playing music purchased from non-Apple sources on iPods.
     Ware certified the class of allegedly ripped-off resellers and consumers late last year. Class notices are due to be distributed May 8.
     Bonny Sweeney, Thomas Merrick, Alexandra Bernay and Carmen Medici of the San Diego firm Robbins Geller Rudman and Dowd are lead counsel representing the designated lead plaintiffs, Somtai Troy Charoensak, Mariana Rosen and Melanie Tucker.
     Apple is represented by Robert Mittelstaedt, Craig Stewart and David Kiernan of Jones Day in San Francisco.

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