ITunes Fix Fought Flaws Not Rivals, Expert Says

     
     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – An Apple security expert defended a series of iTunes updates as protection from hackers, as the trial of a class action antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant continued in an Oakland federal court today.
     At issue is the claim that Apple maintained a music player monopoly from 2006 to 2009 by releasing updates to its music store that made it impossible for iPods to play songs from competing stores. Plaintiffs say this harmed consumers by making it costly to switch to other devices, and allowed Apple to charge high prices.
     Augustin Farrugia, a senior director at Apple, told the jury during the trial’s second day that updates were necessary to bolster security in a system that “had flaws everywhere.”
     Part of the trial’s focus is software by RealNetwork called Harmony, which allowed songs from Real’s music store to be played on the iPod until iTunes updates prevented that.
     Plaintiffs’ attorneys have argued that the iTunes updates were directed at competitors like Real.
     But Farrugia said Apple plays a “cat and mouse” game with hackers, and must continuously update its security to stay ahead.
     When questioned by Apple’s attorneys, Farrugia also pointed out that Apple’s updates did not prevent songs downloaded from Amazon.com’s mp3 store – another competitor – from being played in iTunes or on iPods.
     After Farrugia’s testimony, lead plaintiff Marianna Rosen – representing a class of an estimated eight million consumers and 500 businesses – took the stand.
     Rosen testified that she tried to buy music from a Russian website, but the music did not play because it wasn’t in Apple’s format. Because much of her music library was purchased through iTunes, she said she didn’t want to get another device.
     “In a way, I was a little bit forced to buy a certain product,” Rosen said. “Even if I would have chosen Apple in the end, I would have wanted it to be my own choice.”
     Video from Steve Jobs’ deposition in the nearly decade-old case is expected to be shown in court during the trial. It was initially slated for today or Thursday, but has been pushed back.

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