iTunes class-action suit now in the hands of the jury

After having wrapped up witness testimonies late last week, the iTunes antitrust lawsuit has now reached the jury for deliberation following hours of closing arguments today. At stake in this case is $351 million where plaintiffs in the class-action suit accuse Apple of stifling competition by locking out competing music services from iTunes and iPod music players.

In its deliberation, the jury will be tasked on deciding two things, as Ars Technica reports:

The jury will make an unusual split decision, deliberating first over the narrow issue of whether iTunes 7.0 was a true product improvement or an anti-competitive scheme to kick out Apple competitor RealNetworks.

If the jury sees the "software and firmware updates" in iTunes 7.0 as a real improvement, the case will be over—a win for Apple. If it doesn't see it that way, the jurors will still have to decide if Apple broke competition laws and, if so, how much the company should pay in damages.

If Apple is found guilty under antitrust law, then damages could be tripled in the case.

Apple executives had repeatedly testified, including a video deposition of late CEO Steve Jobs taken months before his passing, that the DRM restrictions were put into effect as a result of the agreements of the music labels, with Apple placing blame on the records.

Source: Ars Technica