Apple Accused of Restricting Consumer Choice; Jobs Forced to Testify
March 23, 2011 11:02 AM
comment(s) - last by
RealNetworks raises serious questions about Apple's tactics with iTunes
An order issued earlier this week by a federal magistrate judge will require
CEO Steve Jobs to answer questions regarding an
iTunes antitrust suit
, 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
, 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
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.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Not really...
3/23/2011 1:31:13 PM
Funny the Android Market doesn't require you to jump through any hoops to get it working.
Amazon isn't even that hard to get working. Plus since Amazon is actually allowed to have its own app store that's a HUGE plus. Competition is a GOOD thing.
Not sure what your point about an update every 6 months is. A phone shouldn't need near monthly updates like Apple pushes. This isn't a computer running OS X, Windows, or some *ux that gets monthly or weekly updates. Not to mention for me I had a Droid before my Thunderbolt. Droid has received 5 updates since it's release in November 2009. So that's an average of one update a little more then every 3 months with two of those updates being fairly substantial upgrades (2.1 and 2.2).
Apple only keeps giving out updates because they hamstring users by NOT giving them basic functionality and because they have to roll out huge bug fix updates after every major iOS update. It took Apple TWO DAMN YEARS to bring MMS and Copy/Paste to iOS. That's just sad. iOS still doesn't have true multi-tasking. Their implementation isn't "done right" like Lord and master Jobs claims. iOS multi-tasking is incredibly half-assed.
To top it off they force obsolescence on users by not enabling new functionality on older devices when they can do it. For example MMS on the original iPhone and no multi-tasking on iPhone 3G (which I had before my much better Droid). Apple cited "hardware limitations" as reasons for the lack of feature support. Yet, if you jailbroke the phones multi-tasking and MMS "magically" worked.
RE: Not really...
3/24/2011 5:51:38 AM
"Yet, if you jailbroke the phones multi-tasking and MMS "magically" worked."
Yeah but the battery life goes to hell. A trade off is just that and they prefer not to have irate customers whining about 3 hour battery life instead of the 8-10 they are used to.
As for obsolescence, uhm I replace my iPhone every 2 years when the contract is up. I really do not care about my original iPhone anymore. Just my current 3GS and my magical 5 I will get this summer.
My Android using buddies have the same attitude.
RE: Not really...
3/24/2011 9:20:30 AM
Yes, that is the reason for it. And they lied to your face about that reason and you have no problem with it.
I guess some sheep deserve to get sheared...
"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Bon Jovi: Shot to the Heart and Jobs is to Blame, He Gives Music a Bad Name
March 14, 2011, 9:25 PM
Apple, Record Companies Discuss Changes to iTunes Service
March 4, 2011, 10:32 AM
UPDATED: Apple iOS 4.3 Now Available to Download
March 9, 2011, 1:10 PM
Facebook CEO Called President Barack Obama to Complain About NSA Spying
March 14, 2014, 1:40 PM
Quick Note: Google Drive 100GB, 1TB Plans See Major Price Cuts
March 13, 2014, 2:45 PM
Target Missed Early Warning Signs of Holiday Data Breach
March 13, 2014, 1:45 PM
Amazon Increases Prime Subscription to $99/year Starting March 19
March 13, 2014, 8:23 AM
Bitcoin King's American Accounts Get Frozen
March 13, 2014, 3:00 AM
Time Warner Cable CEO Says Merger with Comcast is a "Dream Combination", Will Increase Innovation
March 12, 2014, 2:37 PM
Most Popular Articles
Bitcoin King Pt. II: Mt. Gox's Dictator Karpelès Proves Tragically Flawed
March 7, 2014, 1:12 PM
Hack Reveals Fallen Bitcoin CEO's Posh Tokyo Penthouse
March 10, 2014, 4:28 PM
Tesla Motors Calls New Jersey Out on New Rule Against Its Direct Sales Model
March 11, 2014, 12:01 PM
NASA Considering SpaceX "Red Dragon" for Returning Mars Samples to Earth
March 10, 2014, 2:43 PM
India Could Rock Google With Its Biggest Antitrust Fine Yet -- $5B USD
March 10, 2014, 8:12 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information