Given Apple’s supposed commitment to user privacy, the company has some pretty major past indiscretions to answer for. Case in point: Apple reportedly deleted music from user libraries as recently as 2009 if the music was downloaded from a competing service. That means if you ever experienced an incident where your music was suddenly gone, now you know why. Apple said that if such measures were taken—like for pirated music—they were strictly for security reasons.
The accusations were made in court this week in the anti-trust suit over Apple’s iPod, which alleges Apple tried to make its MP3 player incompatible with competing services so users would be tied to iTunes. Attorneys claim Apple made it impossible to sync songs to their iPod if they were downloaded from a rival service, returning error messages instead. As a result, users would be encourage to perform a factory reset, which would then delete the music (but apparently not Apple’s).
One Apple executive said the company was very paranoid about protecting iTunes, and felt it needed these safe guards in place so users weren’t harmed. “Updates that deleted non-Apple music files were intended to protect consumers from those system break-ins,” wrote The Wall Street Journal.
Be that as it may, one Steve Jobs email in particular shows that Apple acted in its own interest by blocking rivals’ music, rather than to protect consumers. In the class-action suit, the plaintiffs are seeking $350 million in damages.