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  (Source: the3gshow.com)
RealNetworks raises serious questions about Apple's tactics with iTunes

An order issued earlier this week by a federal magistrate judge will require Apple CEO Steve Jobs to answer questions regarding an iTunes antitrust suit.

ITunes, Apple's proprietary digital media player application, was launched in 2003. It became wildly successful, even beating Wal-Mart as the biggest music retailer in April 2008. 

But according to RealNetworks, a Seattle-based provider of Internet media software and services, iTunes allegedly utilized unfair practices in the digital media industry between October 2004 and March 2009. In july 2004, RealNetworks announced that its online store offered music that could be used on iPods through a technology called Harmony. Five days later, Apple released updates to its iPod FairPlay software, which is a proprietary software used by Apple to encode its digital music files. The iPod FairPlay software allowed iTunes music files to be used only on iPods, and blocked digital music sold by other companies to be played on the iPod. This included RealNetworks' digital files.

In 2005, Thomas Slattery, an iTunes customer, filed a lawsuit on behalf of customers who believe Apple "illegally limited consumer choice" by making iTunes exclusively for iPod and vice versa. He asserted antitrust claims from Apple's use of the FairPlay software. 

In 2008, Apple faced the same issues with consumers in Europe who complained about the lack of compatibility with iTunes and the iPod. The European Union Competition Commission started an inquiry in 2005, where regulators from Norway, Denmark and Sweden examined the situation. As a result, Apple lowered the prices of iTunes tracks in the United Kingdom. 

In March 2009, iTunes began selling digital music without the proprietary software, and in May 2010, the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division began looking into Apple's business practices associated with iTunes and the iPod. 

Now, U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd in San Jose, California has issued an order that allows lawyers for consumers to question Jobs. The deposition can only consist of questions regarding Apple's software changes made in October 2004, which prevented digital tracks from RealNetworks from being played on the iPod. In addition, the deposition can only be two hours long.

"The court finds that Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge about the issues at the center of the dispute over RealNetworks software," said Lloyd. 

Lloyd also declined requests from the plaintiff to question Jobs regarding Apple's refusal to license FairPlay to other companies as well as the companies use of the software on digital tracks from iTunes and the iPod. Both claims were dismissed from the litigation in December 2009.

"Plaintiffs remaining claims rely on the allegation that Apple attempted to maintain a monopoly in the audio download and portable music player market by issuing updates to FairPlay, Apple's proprietary digital rights management software," said David Kiernan, Apple's attorney. 

Also, Kiernan noted that "any deposition of Mr. Jobs would be repetitive, at best."

A deposition has not been scheduled yet, according to San Diego lawyer Bonny E. Sweeney, who is representing the plaintiffs, but a hearing regarding Apple's motion to dismiss the case is scheduled for April 18. 


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easy solution
By swampthing1117 on 3/23/2011 11:42:38 AM , Rating: 5
Solution is simple. Do what i do. Don't buy apple, EVER, for any reason. Problem solved. I don't think i'd take one of their garbage items if you gave it to me. It's all proprietary crap.




RE: easy solution
By vision33r on 3/23/2011 12:29:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, don't buy apple stuff if you don't like their way with things. There are plenty of choices so this BS about not having a choice is total crock.

You can buy the Zune HD music player or any other Android based one.


RE: easy solution
By kleinma on 3/23/2011 12:59:05 PM , Rating: 2
well MS killed the Zune actually, but I agree with you otherwise ;)

I own a zune and a droid and can play music and video on either (in various different formats). No need for iAnything. I don't even want iTunes on my computer because of all the crap it needs to install and services that need to be running, but my girl has an ipod so I am stuck with it until that thing dies at least.


RE: easy solution
By cjohnson2136 on 3/23/2011 2:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but my girl has an ipod so I am stuck with it until that thing dies at least.


just make it "magically" go away ;)


RE: easy solution
By kmmatney on 3/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: easy solution
By Veerappan on 3/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: easy solution
By Johnmcl7 on 3/23/2011 3:27:07 PM , Rating: 2
It would be a significant downgrade from my current Vaio Z5 (3Ghz C2D, 1600x900 screen, dual 128GB SSDs in Raid 0, blu-ray burner, integrated and discrete graphics),same goes for pretty much any Apple hardware and there's never any piece of Apple equipment I've used I'd rather have over my own. Quite the opposite in fact.

John


"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer














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