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...
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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
Paramount Bans Team America Screenings, Cowers Submissively to North Korea
December 18, 2014, 10:26 PM
News Corp's Fox is Terrified of North Korea, Kills Upcoming Steve Carell Film
December 18, 2014, 4:09 PM
NPD: Online Shopping is up in 2014, But Brick & Mortar Retail is Booming Too
December 12, 2014, 9:09 AM
Amazon Joins 4K Arms Race, With Free 4K Streaming for Prime Members
December 10, 2014, 10:49 AM
Obama Tells Your Kids to Get Coding for CS Education Week
December 9, 2014, 8:01 AM
Microsoft Offers Office, Xbox, Skype Online Services Bundle for $149 -- 65% Off
December 8, 2014, 2:32 PM
Most Popular Articles
BlackBerry Classic Sells Out Online (Seriously, It Has) for North America
December 15, 2014, 7:07 PM
After Coming So Close to Recovering, Northern White Rhino is Nearly Extinct
December 15, 2014, 11:30 AM
Peter Sunde is Sickened by Today's Pirate Bay, Say Internet Activism is Dying
December 15, 2014, 6:02 AM
Quick Note: Windows Phone Finally Gets Candy Crush Saga
December 13, 2014, 2:03 PM
LaWS (Laser) "Kills" Boat-Hauled Fuel Tanks, UAV "Bomber" in the Persian Gulf
December 12, 2014, 8:31 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information