The court for a long-running iPod/iTunes antitrust lawsuit has ended up revealing not only Jobs’ thoughts on the whole premise of the situation but also a rare glimpse of behind the scenes of a former Apple run by its cofounder. Taped in 2011, Jobs’ testimony along with several emails passed between Apple executives is now making its way to count as plaintiff’s evidence in a class-action lawsuit regarding iPod and the iTunes Music Store.

Although a written transcript isn’t available for public viewing, multiple, in-court reports offer a brief rundown of the most important points. According to the folks over a CNN Money, most of the questions were asked by a lawyer representing the plaintiffs had to do with RealNetworks, which is a key subject in this case currently asserts against Apple. Jobs’ response to the first question itself foreshadowed his characteristic throughout the entire testimony. He responded with the following “Do they still exist?,” referring to RealNetworks. Furthermore, throughout the deposition, Jobs continued to be evasive claiming he forgot or didn’t know the answer to various questions.

For those of you who didn’t know, the complaint is a carryover from a 2005 lawsuit involving Apple’s supposedly tactical moves to block songs which were purchased on RealNetworks’ RealPlayer online store from being played on the iPod. One of the key arguments revolved around an iTunes update which broke compatibility with Harmony, a technology that was created by Real that allowed users to playback non-Tunes music on the iPod.

Plaintiffs are stating that Apple was looking to create a monopoly with its FairPlay digital rights management (DRM), the iPod and the iTunes Music Store. The class includes individuals and businesses who bought the following devices between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009: the iPod classic, iPod shuffle, iPod touch or iPod nano.

Email correspondence continues to remain permanent despite Jobs’ death and the obvious inability to attend the case. Jobs wrote the following in an email asking Apple executives about a potential release regarding RealNetworks:

How's this? 'We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod.'
Apple’s head of marketing, Phil Schiller, said he liked the idea of “likening them to hackers.”

This email as a whole indicated Jobs’ 2011 testimony which is when he said Apple was “very scared” of breaking digital sales terms stipulated by record labels. Although iTunes doesn’t carry DRM-protected content at the time, Jobs said Apple was under constant pressure by labels to keep the music score. This prompted frequent iTunes updates as hackers found several workarounds. Apple ended up having part of the initial suit tossed back in 2009 after reaching an agreement with music labels to strip DRM from iTunes Store content.

When an attorney asked Jobs if he thought the emails about Real sounded strong and vehement,” Jobs said the following regarding the matter:

They don't sound too angry to me when I read them. Usually, a vehement - I don't know about the word 'vehement,' but a strong response from Apple would be a lawsuit.
As the case continues, it’s likely that more emails will continue to surface. Plaintiffs are currently seeking $350 million in damages from Apple but as was pointed out previously, this amount would automatically be tripled to over $1 billion under the US antitrust laws.

Source: CNN Money, Reuters