• 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
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