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Apple prevails in antitrust lawsuit with a unanimous decision

It’s OK everybody, Apple isn’t an evil monopoly after all — at least as far as a California jury is concerned.

After a decade-long battle over alleged unfair practices in the music downloading industry, a jury unanimously decided in favor of Apple in its antitrust lawsuit, according to CNBC. Apple was accused of restricting the use of iPods and iTunes with competitors’ services and hardware in order to corner the digital downloading market. The plaintiffs sought $350 million in damages, and a loss could have exposed Apple to even more litigation.

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U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers presided over the case and sent it to the jury for deliberation yesterday. The decision came after the plaintiffs’ final witness Ron Schultz, a former Apple engineer, testified last Friday. Schultz worked directly with Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) software in question in the case, which was used to restrict the compatibility of Apple’s iPods and iTunes music service with competitors in the genre.

The plaintiffs never appeared to have a chance at winning the case after numerous roadblocks. The initial witnesses, Melanie Wilson and Marianna Rosen were removed from the case after Apple provided evidence that neither one of them purchased an iPod between September 2007 and March 2009 — the timeframe in which the lawsuit was claiming damages.

The plaintiffs were able to acquire a new witness after Barbara Bennett came forward with documentation proving she purchased an iPod within the designated time frame, but her testimony was not allowed into evidence because she was entered as a plaintiff hours before the judge sent the case to the jury for deliberation, according to the New York Times.

Apple responded to the decision in a statement obtained by CNBC: “We thank the jury for their service and we applaud their verdict.”