Bloomberg is reporting that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will have to give a deposition in court regarding the 2005 iTunes antitrust case that questions the legality of Apple’s “FairPlay” DRM technology. The deposition itself will not exceed two hours, and will elaborate on the software changes Apple made all the way back in 2004, that […]
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Apple CEO Steve Jobs Ordered to Give Deposition in iTunes Antitrust Case

itunes10logo380.jpgBloomberg is reporting that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will have to give a deposition in court regarding the 2005 iTunes antitrust case that questions the legality of Apple’s “FairPlay” DRM technology. The deposition itself will not exceed two hours, and will elaborate on the software changes Apple made all the way back in 2004, that prevented RealNetworks files from being played back on the iPod.

Now, to cover the basics. This suit was filed way back in January of 2005 by a single customer who didn’t like the tight control Apple held over their FairPlay encoded music. This prevented content bought on iTunes from being played on devices other than iPods. Where Apple really got in trouble, was their insistence that RealNetworks stop development of their “Harmony” technology, which was an attempt to reverse engineer FairPlay.
Here’s a lengthy excerpt:

RealNetworks, a Seattle-based competitor in the digital- music market, announced July 24, 2004, that it would sell music from its online store that could be played on iPods on a technology it called Harmony. Just five days later, Apple announced software updates to its iPod FairPlay software that would render RealNetworks’ Harmony product again inoperable on iPods, according to Lloyd’s order.

By October of that year, when users were forced to update their iTunes applications and iPods, the digital-music files from RealNetworks’ online store were no longer interoperable with Apple’s iPods, Lloyd wrote.

The funniest thing about this suit is, Apple no longer sells any music with DRM encoding, making this fight a moot point. Specifically, the suit claimed that Apple was attempting to build a monopoly wherein iTunes content could only be played on iPods, and iPods could only play iTunes content.

Pulled the trigger a little too late to get anywhere on this suit if you ask me.

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