∞ Court orders Steve Jobs to answer questions in iTunes antitrust

A federal judge has ordered Apple CEO Steve Jobs to answer questions in an iTunes antitrust case that alleges Apple had a music downloading monopoly.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]The questions will be limited to changes Apple made in 2004 that made music files from RealNetworks incompatible with Apple’s iPod, according to Bloomberg.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd wrote that “Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge about the issues at the center of the dispute over RealNetworks software.”

The plaintiff asked the court to allow questioning on why Apple refused to license FairPlay, its DRM technology, but the judge refused.

It’s not clear when Jobs will be called to answer the questions. He took a medical leave of absence from Apple in January and is still off at this time.

  • Anonymous

    All the smack talk from REAL in those days, it’s hard to see how Apple could have been considered a monopoly. You can’t apply market position now with the way it was then.

  • Most of the money I spend on music downloads goes to Beatport. QED.

  • Real brought nothing to consumers but another proprietary format that required its own special little player. I wish Microsoft had partnered with them ten years ago; they’d have disappeared in a few weeks.

  • Anonymous

    I think the issue that will end up being important is whether Apple had any kind of dominance in the hardware or software realm at the time and what Apple was supporting. If they changed to a format that was more compatible with all kinds of players, including perhaps “Real” software then they can probably get around the whole claim of Anti-trust because they were making their store more independent of the hardware or even software.

    then they would need to handle the issue that they changed their ipods to not play Real files, to push their store. That isn’t necessarily a crime or anti-trust. It all depends on how strong their hold on hardware was. And the actual motivation. That’s probably what they want Jobs for. To try to get a smoking gun statement that they did it just to hurt Real. Which they likely won’t get and can’t prove with any kind of email etc.

    Plus we’ve already seen courts validate Apple’s right to vertically align their hardware and software and store with the iphone etc. They might be able to apply those rulings and get this case tossed if they can show that it is the same game.