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Jury Clears Apple in|ITunes Antitrust Case

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - A jury sided with Apple in a decade-long antitrust class action that accused the tech giant of monopolizing the digital player market and overcharging for iPods.

The verdict came Tuesday morning after only three hours of deliberation following a two-week trial, which included appearances by Apple execs and a much-anticipated video deposition by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Closing arguments in the case ended Monday afternoon.

Plaintiffs representing a class of an estimated 8 million consumers and 500 businesses accused Apple of using an iTunes update to prevent iPods from playing music purchased from competing music stores. Attorneys for consumers said the update kept users locked into Apple products, allowing the company to sell iPods for inflated prices between 2006 and 2009.

But Apple argued that the update allowed iTunes to play movies and show album art, and bolstered security in a system that "had flaws everywhere," according to an expert who testified for the company.

The plaintiffs claimed $350 million in damages, which could have amounted to a potential $1 billion award.

The jury found that iTunes update 7.0 was a genuine product improvement, which federal antitrust law allows even if it hurts rivals.

Attorneys from the firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner represented Apple in the action.

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd represented the class.

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