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ITunes antitrust dismissal upheld

Apple Inc. doesn’t have to face an antitrust lawsuit by customers who accused it of maintaining a monopoly over music downloading through its iTunes stores, a federal appeals court ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco in a ruling Tuesday upheld a lower-lower court judge’s dismissal of the case. The customers claimed in the suit that Apple tried to block competition and charge more by preventing users from playing some iTunes music on non-Apple devices.

Apple’s downloaded song prices remained the same even after competitors entered the market, the appeals panel said.

Last month Apple won dismissal of a separate lawsuit claiming the Cupertino, Calif.-based company maintains a monopoly over iPhone applications.

In another antitrust case filed by the U.S. government in federal court in New York, Apple was found liable in July for fixing e-book prices.

The federal judge presiding over the e-book case in Manhattan said Aug. 27 she plans to limit the remedies sought by the U.S. government. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled in July that Apple, the maker of the iPod table computer, helped coordinate a conspiracy with five book publishers to limit retail price competition and raise e-book prices.

The case is Stacie Somers v. Apple, 11-16896, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco).