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Apple Hit With Lawsuit for Deleting Competitors’ Music Off of Users’ iPods

If you ever had any music disappear between 2007 and 2009, this might be why

Though Apple has recently faced heat for forcing music into peoples’ iTunes, the tech giant now finds itself tackling a lawsuit for deleting users’ songs without informing them. The company was recently slapped with a class-action antitrust suit for deleting music obtained through competing services off of users’ iPods without telling them, between 2007 and 2009. According to the Wall Street Journal, users who downloaded music through RealPlayer or some other rival would be hit with an error message when they tried to sync their iPods. The message instructed users to restore their devices to factory settings and upon doing so they’d discover that all the songs they obtained from other sources had been deleted, a fact that Apple kept secret.

“You guys decided to give them the worst possible experience and blow up [their music libraries],” the consumers’ attorney Patrick Coughlin told a U.S. District Court in Oakland, California. Apple security director Augustin Farrugia claimed that the company deleted non-Apple music files to prevent hackers from gaining access to their systems, as they didn’t have Apple’s secure “FairPlay” DRM technology, something that wasn’t explained to iPod owners at the time because, according to Farrugia, “We don’t need to give users too much information We don’t want to confuse users.”

The plaintiffs contend that this conveniently allowed Apple to snuff out competition from rival music players and stores. They seek $350 million in damages.