Apple Computer faces a lawsuit in the U.S., following similar charges in Europe, over tying its iTunes music store to the iPod digital music player.
Apple revealed the suit, submitted in July to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.
The suit was filed by a user, Melanie Tucker, and seeks class-action status. It alleges that Apple violates antitrust laws by refusing to allow music bought in its iTunes store to be played on any digital music player besides the iPod. It also charges Apple with not making it clear to customers that music from the iTunes store and the iPod are incompatible with music and devices offered by other companies.
The suit asks that Apple be forbidden to continue to support the exclusive tie-in between iTunes and the iPod and that Apple pay damages to anyone who has bought an iPod or music from the iTunes store after April 28, 2003.
In November, Apple filed a motion with the court to dismiss the suit but on Dec. 20 the court denied that request.
A consumer group in France filed a similar suit in early 2005 that is still ongoing. In addition, consumer groups in several Nordic countries are preparing a case against Apple, also charging it with illegally tying the music store and music player together.