Three years after his death, a witness in Apple lawsuits is Steve Jobs. But this does not necessarily mean good news for the company.
The company will go to trial next month in a major antitrust lawsuit the company faced since Steve Jobs died. The e-mails of Steve Jobs will be very important to the case, as they already were in the last two lawsuits Apple was part of.
Lawyers often tell company executives to be very careful of what they say in e-mails for fear they will end up in a courtroom as evidence. Steve Jobs’ e-mails are a mix of threats against the company’s opponents and financial promises for potential partners. It is these e-mails that have made Steve Jobs a witness against his own company even after his death.
A professor at the Rutgers School of Law, Michael A. Carrier said:
“He was a genius in terms of his vision for the future. But it went along with a really healthy ego and perhaps the lack of an antitrust filter — thinking about how these words would appear years later tossed up on the screen in front of a jury.”
The latest Apple lawsuit is set to begin in Oakland on Tuesday. It involves older iPods which only played songs downloaded off CDs and sold on the iTunes Store. They didn’t play songs from competing stores. Consumers say Apple violated antitrust laws because in order of keeping their music they had to buy high priced tracks rather than the cheaper music offered by other players. Apple discontinued the system since then.
The lead lawyer of the plaintiffs, Bonny Sweeney said:
“We will present evidence that Apple took action to block its competitors and in the process harmed competition and harmed consumers,”
Apple refused to make a comment on the matter.
Numerous e-mails have been made public. In one e-mail from 2003 sent to the executives of Apple, Jobs said his worries about Musicmatch, a company that was opening its own store for music. He said they needed to make sure Musicmatch downloaded music cannot be used on iPods and asked if the issue should concern him. These kinds of e-mails are why a witness in Apple lawsuits is Steve Jobs.
Several more e-mails are expected to be made public after the lawsuit.