In last-minute twist, Apple contends plaintiffs in iPod case may not be eligible to sue

For want of an iPod, a billion-dollar lawsuit may be in jeopardy.

Apple attorneys are raising a last-minute challenge to a class-action lawsuit over the company's use of restrictive software that kept iPods from playing music sold by competitors. Apple says new evidence shows the two women named as plaintiffs in the case may not have purchased iPod models covered by the lawsuit. Opposing lawyers disagree.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said she isn't ready to decide, but told both sides to file legal briefs as soon as possible.

Apple stopped using the software in 2009 and the case only covers certain iPod models purchased between September 2006 and March 2009.