Apple scanned for music purchased from rival services (such as Amazon) and forced users to delete all rival music purchases from their iPods.
Apple intentionally deleted music not bought from iTunes from users’ iPods between 2007 and 2009, a court was told in a antitrust suit against Apple.
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs in a potentially billion dollar antitrust class-action lawsuit against Apple for abuse of its iTunes Music Store dominance told the jury that the Californian electronics company scanned for music not bought from iTunes, and forced a factory reset of the iPod if any was detected.
“You guys decided to give them the worst possible experience and blow up” a user’s iPod music, attorney Patrick Coughlin told the US District Court in Oakland, California. ‘Very paranoid’
Users who tried to sync and update an iPod with music from the likes of Amazon or 7Digital were told there was an error with their iPod that could only be solved with a factory restore through iTunes, which completely wiped the iPod.
Restoring the iPod from iTunes would not restore music from rival services. Apple decided to “not to tell users the problem” Coughlin explained.
Apple security director Augustin Farrugia told the court that the music was deleted for security reasons and that hackers including Jon Lech Johansen also known as “DVD Jon” and software such as the digital rights management removal tool Requiem had made Apple “very paranoid.”
“Someone is breaking into our house,” Apple’s founder and chief executive Steve Jobs wrote at the time, according to an email exhibited by Apple software head Eddy Cue.
“The system was totally hacked,” said Farrugia and that the music was deleted for security reasons, saying that “we don’t need to give users too much information” because “we don’t want to confuse users.”
Apple declined to comment any further.