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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. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      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.
      That's true for music now, but I still have many songs that are DRM'd, and don't feel I should have to pay Apple more to remove the DRM. Doesn't the sound lose quality when converted to MP3?

      Also, I have a decent collection of TV shows on iTunes as well, which do still have DRM. I don't buy movies from iTunes for just this reason. I want to play them where I want, not where Apple wants. Plus, I'd rather get a better quality picture/sound on Blu-Ray; especially considering that for $25 you can get super-packs with BR, DVD, AND an iTunes copy, all at once.

      Quote Originally Posted by IXAdamOwnzXI View Post
      Lol at the guy above who said he paid >500 for his music
      You're not worth my time, you're just a petty thief, no matter how you want to try and justify it.
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CynicalDriver View Post
      That's true for music now, but I still have many songs that are DRM'd, and don't feel I should have to pay Apple more to remove the DRM. Doesn't the sound lose quality when converted to MP3?
      iTunes actually can strip DRM itself. All you need to do is burn your DRM tracks as an audio CD, then use iTunes to re-rip them and they'll be void of any DRM. Yes, this requires a stack of CD's, but they are dirt cheap and you could probably use CD-RW too. There's bound to be some easy and free DRM striping tool out there too that would do the job without burning CD's
      AAC and MP3 are both lossy audio compression formats so there should be no difference in quality between the two.


      Quote Originally Posted by CynicalDriver View Post
      Also, I have a decent collection of TV shows on iTunes as well, which do still have DRM. I don't buy movies from iTunes for just this reason. I want to play them where I want, not where Apple wants. Plus, I'd rather get a better quality picture/sound on Blu-Ray; especially considering that for $25 you can get super-packs with BR, DVD, AND an iTunes copy, all at once.
      The Video DRM would annoy me more than music DRM, if I bought video from iTunes. iTunes Tv Shows and Movies just aren't of sufficient quality for my liking either. But I do figure that the movie/tv studios will be harder to convince to let go of DRM than the music studios
    1. AKCHRIS's Avatar
      AKCHRIS -
      to me this ruling is Pointless. I've owned Motorola MP3 Players, I've owns Scan Disk, and I have a NUMEROUS Music Accounts from Napster to RealNet, to Amazon, it all works for me.
    1. taih's Avatar
      taih -
      nice! how do i post a thread?
    1. krosis's Avatar
      krosis -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      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?
      I partially agree with you, and yes, the console wars are similar except for the fact that they're sold as closed platforms more than Apple's iPad. Nobody expects a PS3 game to work on an xbox. However Amazon's kindle app not working on an iPad in the future (irrelevant at the moment as it currently does work, and let me view kindle ebooks on my iPad) it is 100% the fault of Apple, not Amazon. Belive me, if Amazon was the source of the problem I would be equally upset with them.

      The problem for me is Apple deciding who can and can not be on their platform based on how much money the various content providers can afford to pay them. There are several industries (streaming music, video, and the whole ebook industry) that have developed business models based around the 3% cc merchant fees being an acceptable loss. Apple has recently said that unless your business model can support that 3% tax being raised to 30%, you're no longer welcome in their ecosystem. That's what I have a problem with, as it will directly make my device less usable to me, as several industries simply can not take a 30% revenue hit and stay profitable.

      That's the main reason I have interest in this 7 year old case. Any decision and removes Apple's ability to anti-competitively cripple my device is a step in the right direction.
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      iTunes actually can strip DRM itself. All you need to do is burn your DRM tracks as an audio CD, then use iTunes to re-rip them and they'll be void of any DRM. Yes, this requires a stack of CD's, but they are dirt cheap and you could probably use CD-RW too. There's bound to be some easy and free DRM striping tool out there too that would do the job without burning CD's
      AAC and MP3 are both lossy audio compression formats so there should be no difference in quality between the two.



      The Video DRM would annoy me more than music DRM, if I bought video from iTunes. iTunes Tv Shows and Movies just aren't of sufficient quality for my liking either. But I do figure that the movie/tv studios will be harder to convince to let go of DRM than the music studios
      I've thought of the whole ITunes - CD - iTunes thing, but that IS a loss of quality, and VERY time consuming. Then there's the issue of formatting it again: Album art, track names, album names, artist, etc... Doesn't that all have to be redone manually? I think it does, and then there's doubles... I HATE doubles, lol.

      Yes, I could have fixed it, but I own an iPhone, so so I couldn't be bothered, lol. If I ever switch to another phone though, then I might have an issue with it. It's the principle of the matter really, but I don't complain about it because I knew the stakes when I clicked purchase. I'll not be joining this suit, if it goes anywhere.
    1. TheDirtyDiddler's Avatar
      TheDirtyDiddler -
      This sounds like a poor excuse to get money. I've never had any problem playing music anywhere, whether it has to (very easily) be converted within iTunes or not. You choose to download this stuff based on Apple's terms. That doesn't make them responsible because you don't like the terms that you agreed to. And honestly, if you have an iPod/iPhone, do you REALLY need to play these songs on a crappy wma player as well?
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by krosis View Post
      The problem for me is Apple deciding who can and can not be on their platform based on how much money the various content providers can afford to pay them. There are several industries (streaming music, video, and the whole ebook industry) that have developed business models based around the 3% cc merchant fees being an acceptable loss. Apple has recently said that unless your business model can support that 3% tax being raised to 30%, you're no longer welcome in their ecosystem. That's what I have a problem with, as it will directly make my device less usable to me, as several industries simply can not take a 30% revenue hit and stay profitable.
      .
      Ah you're not really looking at what your getting for that 30%.
      You get a tried and trusted marketplace with an install base of millions.
      You don't have hosting costs or distribution costs.

      If you have an ebook or an album (cos they're not really platform dependent like apps) and you want to sell it.

      You can
      a)set up your own website(cost),
      set up a shopping cart system (cost),
      pay transaction fees (cost),
      advertise your website (cost)

      or you can b)
      Submit your product to Apple

      From what I've read, app developers have no problems with the 30%. Don't know authors or music artists opinions (cept Bon Jovi )
    1. djnikk's Avatar
      djnikk -
      Quote Originally Posted by CynicalDriver View Post
      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.
      ever heard of PsyStar?!?
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CynicalDriver View Post
      I've thought of the whole ITunes - CD - iTunes thing, but that IS a loss of quality, and VERY time consuming. Then there's the issue of formatting it again: Album art, track names, album names, artist, etc... Doesn't that all have to be redone manually? I think it does, and then there's doubles... I HATE doubles, lol.
      iTunes -> File -> Display Duplicates
      It's been a while since I burned a CD but I'm pretty sure you can burn the CD with all the names. Not the artwork, but because they have the right names, you can just scan for artwork and it'll find it online.
      If the files are AAC (which purchased iTune songs are) then burning them to CD and re-ripping them back to AAC using the same bitrate etc (non-DRM) wouldn't lose quality. Or am I wrong on that?
    1. prazer's Avatar
      prazer -
      why not...they don't have to provide functionality as long as they don't prohibit it...big difference.
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by prazer View Post
      why not...they don't have to provide functionality as long as they don't prohibit it...big difference.
      What?
      Apple don't provide the function to sync third party mp3 players in iTunes. But by not providing this function they are prohibiting that function.
      Your comment makes no sense.
    1. krosis's Avatar
      krosis -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      Ah you're not really looking at what your getting for that 30%.
      You get a tried and trusted marketplace with an install base of millions.
      You don't have hosting costs or distribution costs.

      If you have an ebook or an album (cos they're not really platform dependent like apps) and you want to sell it.

      You can
      a)set up your own website(cost),
      set up a shopping cart system (cost),
      pay transaction fees (cost),
      advertise your website (cost)

      or you can b)
      Submit your product to Apple

      From what I've read, app developers have no problems with the 30%. Don't know authors or music artists opinions (cept Bon Jovi )
      Oh, I recognize that for most app developers Apple's app store is much more attractive than traditional distribution methods (I'm a software developer myself).

      My problem is with Apple demanding a 30% cut of any money made for any service related to an App, regardless if they actually provide any resources to that service or not, and also requiring the lowest price for that service. Some business simply don't make 30% profit, and are thus being forced off of iOS because they can't afford the Apple tax (which seems to have a whole new meaning now). Rhapsody has already stated they will be leaving, and though they haven't stated it publicly yet, I can tell you that Netflix and Amazon are in the same problem.

      It didn't bother me as much when Apple's stubbornness only limited featurs, which I could fix by jailbreaking and installing tweaks. Now they're trying to expunge entire services, and I'm powerless to fix that. This still feels kind of surreal, and I can't believe that Apple is really neutering their platform like this, but we'll see what happens come this summer when the changes become mandatory.
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      If apple hadn't done this, securing music rights would've been very difficult...
    1. Rob2G's Avatar
      Rob2G -
      Bottom line if you want to use iTunes use an idevice. They are the best on the market anyway. Real media can cry all they want about their proprietary format Not running on iPods etc. But when it comes down to it the are just ******** because they are failing.

      All this anti trust crap is companies crying "boohoo apple is dominating such and such market because they keep making products appealing to the consumer and we are loosing money. It's not fair please mr. Or mrs. judge make them accommodate us so we can mooch off their growing market share". Its the same damn sob story everytime some one throws these damn anti trust suits at apple for the iPods iPhones iPads and apple computers not supporting other companies dying products. It's just a fit thrown into a court room.
    1. gdd2010's Avatar
      gdd2010 -
      Dont forget, DRM is usually a requirement by the originator of the product... The e-book, game (usually system specific and can only run on the device for which it is coded for) require DRM so that it may not be pirated to multiple devices.... makes complete sense.
      I think apple, upon removing DRM from music purchases, put the kabosh on this years ago and this case shouldn't hold any water.
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      iTunes -> File -> Display Duplicates
      It's been a while since I burned a CD but I'm pretty sure you can burn the CD with all the names. Not the artwork, but because they have the right names, you can just scan for artwork and it'll find it online.
      If the files are AAC (which purchased iTune songs are) then burning them to CD and re-ripping them back to AAC using the same bitrate etc (non-DRM) wouldn't lose quality. Or am I wrong on that?
      I know how to display duplicates. I still hate them.

      Any time you take a song and compress it, you permanently lose quality. There are bits that get chopped off, and therefore save file space.

      •Song purchased on a service: already compressed (doesn't matter format)
      •Song then transfered to CD: sounds good, but not as good as a new CD would sound, usually not a big enough difference to warrant concern.
      •Song ripped back into service: you are now re-compressing that song, effectively cutting off twice the number of bits as a song compressed only once.

      Burning a song to CD can't get that missing data back, it was thrown out to save space.
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheDirtyDiddler View Post
      This sounds like a poor excuse to get money. I've never had any problem playing music anywhere, whether it has to (very easily) be converted within iTunes or not. You choose to download this stuff based on Apple's terms. That doesn't make them responsible because you don't like the terms that you agreed to. And honestly, if you have an iPod/iPhone, do you REALLY need to play these songs on a crappy wma player as well?
      Do I NEED to? No.
      Do I WANT to? Yes.

      I'd rather burn a disc with a couple hundred songs and use the CD player in my car, than have to fiddle with my iPhone while I'm driving.

      I could get a newer stereo, but that's another $800+ I don't want to spend.

      And don't suggest a cheap-@$$ radio either... If I'm going to do something, I do it right. My car deserves better than a Sony Xploder.
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Quote Originally Posted by djnikk View Post
      ever heard of PsyStar?!?
      No.
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CynicalDriver View Post
      I know how to display duplicates. I still hate them.

      Any time you take a song and compress it, you permanently lose quality. There are bits that get chopped off, and therefore save file space.

      •Song purchased on a service: already compressed (doesn't matter format)
      •Song then transfered to CD: sounds good, but not as good as a new CD would sound, usually not a big enough difference to warrant concern.
      •Song ripped back into service: you are now re-compressing that song, effectively cutting off twice the number of bits as a song compressed only once.

      Burning a song to CD can't get that missing data back, it was thrown out to save space.
      Interesting. I had thought that converting from one lossy format to another wouldn't lose quality.
      Thanks for the explanation.

      Oh back before downloadable distribution we didn't really have these "why can't my media play on this device" problems. A CD or a DVD just worked in a CD or DVD player

      I do agree that you shouldn't have to pay extra to get non-DRM versions of the music you've already paid for in iTunes. Yeah you're also getting a better quality file at 256kbps, but why can't Apple just give you a non-DRM 128kbps version. Surely Apple have a magic button that could just take off the DRM from your existing file too.
      It's like you paid 99˘ to "rent" the song, now you have to pay an extra ˘30 to own it.