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  • Apple Chief Steve Jobs Ordered to 'Answer Questions' in iTunes Antitrust Suit


    Few people boss Apple Chief Steve Jobs around, but the iconic 56-year-old CEO has been ordered by a judge to "answer questions" in the class-action lawsuit alleging that Apple's iTunes represents a "music store monopoly." According to Bloomberg News, US Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd will allow "limited questioning" of Steve Jobs, who is currently on medical leave from Apple, by legal representatives and attorneys for the group that brought the complaint.

    The deposition can’t exceed two hours and the only topic allowed is changes Apple made to its software in October 2004 that rendered digital music files engineered by RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK) inoperable with Apple’s iPod music player.
    “The court finds that Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge about the issues at the center of the dispute over RealNetworks software,” Judge Lloyd wrote, effectively obligating Steve Jobs to participate in the legal skirmish. Although Apple is no stranger to courtroom showdowns, rarely has Steve Jobs been publicly involved. This particular instance, however, is - in some ways - more serious than other issues that have brought Apple within the legal system's cross-hairs.

    Thomas Slattery, an iTunes customer, brought suit against Apple six years ago seeking class-action status on behalf of "consumers claiming the Cupertino, California-based company illegally limited consumer choice by linking the iPod to its iTunes music store." The basis of Slattery's argument is that Apple is violating antitrust laws by encoding its digital music files with proprietary software dubbed FairPlay. As a result, music files downloaded from iTunes can only be played on sanctioned Apple devices, like the iPod.

    The case is Apple iPod, iTunes Antitrust Litigation, C05- 0037JW, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

    Source: Bloomberg
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Chief Steve Jobs Ordered to 'Answer Questions' in iTunes Antitrust Suit started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 51 Comments
    1. ltjbigshot's Avatar
      ltjbigshot -
      Wow...
    1. DayumQuitPlayin's Avatar
      DayumQuitPlayin -
      Woot, hope the little man wins.
    1. zeroskater61's Avatar
      zeroskater61 -
      I wanna see how this turns out... Main reason I had second thoughts of even buying an iPod!!
    1. EskimoRuler's Avatar
      EskimoRuler -
      i dont know, even if they had to let you use it on other music store, you know that apple wont do any sort of extensions to help out with that. but im sure that the other music stores will make it possible for sure
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Considering the fact that I have an iTunes collection that cost me well north of $500, this is welcome news.

      I would love it if I could play my music on any device. I don't think it is a monopoly question though. You can buy most iTunes music from other places, and the iPod plays most formats. iTunes will also let you import music from outside the iTunes store.

      If the court rules this a "monopoly," then it could set a precedent which forces Apple to write it's software (I mean more than Safari, iTunes, and QT) for outside hardware. The days of Mac OS not running on PCs may be numbered.
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      Just slip the judge a couple of iPad 2s Steve, and this will all be over before you can say iWin.
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Most, if not all, music bought from iTunes now doesn't have any DRM. So it can be played on any device that can play AAC. And if that device doesn't play AAC, iTunes gives you a very easy option to convert to MP3.
      iPods/iPhones/iPads also play all the common file formats.

      Music (without DRM) bought from anywhere can be played on iPods (etc)
      Music without DRM) bought from iTunes can be played anywhere.

      RealNetworks, as far as I know, didn't use any common file format for audio or video. They use proprietary formats. You have a far greater chance of finding players that play AAC or M4V/MP4 than RealNetworks *.ra, *.rm *.rv, *.rm, *.rmvb
      RealNetworks went and made wrapper DRM that made their media appear good for iTunes and Windows DRM and now then they got pissed off when the companies blocked that wrapper. Why didn't RealNetworks just remove DRM from their media, that would have allowed their music to play on devices.
    1. c0dy's Avatar
      c0dy -
      Wow. What a baby. Sorry your tunes didn't work on the iPod. You have the option of buying whatever mp3 player you want. You bought Apple's. You didn't want to buy music from Apple though, and now you're hosed. I don't see how this is a considered a monopoly.

      If you're surprised by the way Apple does things, then you don't know anything about Apple.
    1. IXAdamOwnzXI's Avatar
      IXAdamOwnzXI -
      Quote Originally Posted by c0dy View Post
      Wow. What a baby. Sorry your tunes didn't work on the iPod. You have the option of buying whatever mp3 player you want. You bought Apple's. You didn't want to buy music from Apple though, and now you're hosed. I don't see how this is a considered a monopoly.

      If you're surprised by the way Apple does things, then you don't know anything about Apple.
      Stop brainlessly siding with Apple. Typical fanboy. This is a legitimate concern. I purchased the music. Its
      MY copy. I should be able to play it on whatever MP3 device I choose. Not only Apples. This is typical Apple tactics that need to be put to a stop. They can't be allowed to carry on these controlling tactics they are so accustomed to. Also you say "to stop crying and being a baby". It's a class action suit which means that quite a few people have a problem with this.

      However this isn't relevant to me because I don't purchase any of my music. All the bands I pirate, I see them in concert.

      Lol at the guy above who said he paid >500 for his music
    1. krosis's Avatar
      krosis -
      If they are successful against Apple with this, it might pave some way for fixing the 30%-of-all-subscriptions-plus-lowest-price problem.

      I'm certainly not looking forward to Apple forcing Rhapsody, Kindle, Netflix, etc off of my iPhone because "normal" Apple drones should only ever want iTunes.

      Anything that helps force Apple's products to be more compatible with the rest of my digital world is a step in the right direction.
    1. IXAdamOwnzXI's Avatar
      IXAdamOwnzXI -
      Quote Originally Posted by krosis View Post
      If they are successful against Apple with this, it might pave some way for fixing the 30%-of-all-subscriptions-plus-lowest-price problem.

      I'm certainly not looking forward to Apple forcing Rhapsody, Kindle, Netflix, etc off of my iPhone because "normal" Apple drones should only ever want iTunes.

      Anything that helps force Apple's products to be more compatible with the rest of my digital world is a step in the right direction.
      +1
    1. expo_marker's Avatar
      expo_marker -
      This is why I buy my MP3's from Amazon and then upload them into iTunes. I hope this won't only be exclusive to MP3's, but to movies as well.

      I can easily transfer music from Amazon into iTunes, but I don't think there's an easy way to transfer my DVD movies into iTunes, unless you buy some third-party software and convert the file (which I don't want to go through the hassle of). I simply want to buy used DVD's from Amazon or eBay and then upload them to iTunes.

      On another note, if they have a problem with music (and maybe movies), what about the App store? Are people going to make a fuss about this too?
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by IXAdamOwnzXI View Post
      Stop brainlessly siding with Apple. Typical fanboy. This is a legitimate concern. I purchased the music. Its
      MY copy. I should be able to play it on whatever MP3 device I choose. Not only Apples. This is typical Apple tactics that need to be put to a stop. They can't be allowed to carry on these controlling tactics they are so accustomed to. Also you say "to stop crying and being a baby". It's a class action suit which means that quite a few people have a problem with this.
      However this isn't relevant to me because I don't purchase any of my music. All the bands I pirate, I see them in concert.
      Lol at the guy above who said he paid >500 for his music
      For many years now, any music you buy from iTunes can be played on any device, you can make as many copies, burn as many CD's as you want. iTunes has been DRM free for a while now.
      RealNetworks music had DRM that only allowed it on a few players.

      Like I said above...
      Music (without DRM) bought from anywhere can be played on iPods (etc)
      Music without DRM) bought from iTunes can be played anywhere.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Are there devices that can't play iTunes music and media? I could understand when Apple DRM'd their music, but those days are over aren't they? Not sure about movies or TV shows as I don't use iTunes for that.
    1. krosis's Avatar
      krosis -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      For many years now, any music you buy from iTunes can be played on any device, you can make as many copies, burn as many CD's as you want. iTunes has been DRM free for a while now.
      RealNetworks music had DRM that only allowed it on a few players.

      Like I said above...
      Music (without DRM) bought from anywhere can be played on iPods (etc)
      Music without DRM) bought from iTunes can be played anywhere.
      Apple has certainly stopped using DRM on new downloads for music, which probably makes this specific case irrelevant, but remember so far they've ONLY done this for music.

      What about e-books, or movies? Those restrictions are still in place, which makes this general topic still relevant.

      I don't buy ebooks from iTunes because they will only work on Apple devices. Apple is now changing the terms of their store to make it so ebooks bought elsewhere will not be usable on Apple devices either.

      Is that really so different from what they did with music?
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      You have these practices all over. Apple is not the only company doing this.

      How is it any different that I go buy a game for Xbox but now I'm angry that it won't work in my PS3?

      iBooks supports ePub eBooks from any source. Just drag em into iTunes. Do Kindle books work in iBooks? Probably not considering that Amazon made a specific app for Kindle. It would be Amazon to blame for their ebooks not being compatible with iBooks, why should Apple allow their books on Kindle, if Amazon doesn't allow their books in iBooks. It's Amazons prerogative to make the Kindle app for iOS, can't blame Apple for creating a very popular platform.

      I agree with your point on movies and tv shows DRM, but remember, if there's anyone who loves DRM more than the music industry, it's the movie industry. Is there a digital store for movies and tv shows without DRM?
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Well, however this turns out, I hope the consumer wins!
    1. blwallace5's Avatar
      blwallace5 -
      Quote Originally Posted by IXAdamOwnzXI View Post
      Stop brainlessly siding with Apple. Typical fanboy. This is a legitimate concern. I purchased the music. Its
      MY copy. I should be able to play it on whatever MP3 device I choose. Not only Apples. This is typical Apple tactics that need to be put to a stop. They can't be allowed to carry on these controlling tactics they are so accustomed to. Also you say "to stop crying and being a baby". It's a class action suit which means that quite a few people have a problem with this.

      However this isn't relevant to me because I don't purchase any of my music. All the bands I pirate, I see them in concert.

      Lol at the guy above who said he paid >500 for his music
      Lol at you, the idiot who ******* about an almost non existent issue, then freely proclaims to be a thief. All of the music I have bought on iTunes is DRM free and can be played on any device, and nobody should ever be ashamed of purchasing music legally.
    1. Rob2G's Avatar
      Rob2G -
      Quote Originally Posted by IXAdamOwnzXI View Post
      Stop brainlessly siding with Apple. Typical fanboy. This is a legitimate concern. I purchased the music. Its
      MY copy. I should be able to play it on whatever MP3 device I choose. Not only Apples. This is typical Apple tactics that need to be put to a stop. They can't be allowed to carry on these controlling tactics they are so accustomed to. Also you say "to stop crying and being a baby". It's a class action suit which means that quite a few people have a problem with this.

      However this isn't relevant to me because I don't purchase any of my music. All the bands I pirate, I see them in concert.

      Lol at the guy above who said he paid >500 for his music
      Please ban this idiot ******* pirate.
    1. The Amazing Atheist's Avatar
      The Amazing Atheist -
      Quote Originally Posted by IXAdamOwnzXI View Post
      Stop brainlessly siding with Apple. Typical fanboy. This is a legitimate concern. I purchased the music. Its
      MY copy. I should be able to play it on whatever MP3 device I choose. Not only Apples. This is typical Apple tactics that need to be put to a stop. They can't be allowed to carry on these controlling tactics they are so accustomed to. Also you say "to stop crying and being a baby". It's a class action suit which means that quite a few people have a problem with this.

      However this isn't relevant to me because I don't purchase any of my music. All the bands I pirate, I see them in concert.

      Lol at the guy above who said he paid >500 for his music

      You're a fanboy too to a certain extent if you have an apple product and on this site. I know I'm a fangirl.

      And I think we should be able to have cross compatibility with our devices. I'd love to use iTunes with mp3 players.

      Sent from my iPod touch using ModMyi