Steve Jobs Must Appear in Court for Anti-Trust Case

Mar 24, 2011, 06:33 by Greg Stacy

Steve Jobs, the well-known CEO of Apple, has been ordered by a judge to testify in an anti-trust lawsuit, reports. The suit was launched in 2005, and it alleges that Apple created a music-download monopoly with iPods and iTunes.

Howard Lloyd, Magistrate Judge of San Jose, California, ordered Jobs to spend no more than two hours answering questions from prosecutors about Apple's actions towards RealNetworks in 2004. At that time Apple released an update that rendered any tracks purchased from its competitor unplayable on iPods.

The suit centers on Apple's former use of FairPlay digital-rights-management software (DRM) for music tracks, a process which encoded iTunes' music downloads with DRM restrictions, forcing consumers to only play the music files on iPods. Apple dropped DRM restrictions from all music files in 2009 after many consumer complaints, although FairPlay is still used for TV shows and movies sold in iTunes.

Thomas Slatterly was an iTunes user who launched the anti-trust lawsuit against Apple.

"Although a number of competing legal online sellers of digital files exist," Slatterly's initial complaint stated in 2005, "Apple has rigged [the iPod] so that only online digital music files purchased from Apple's iTunes store, to the exclusion of all other online music files purchased from any other online store, can be directly played on the iPod."

In 2004 rival music player RealNetworks released a piece of software that allowed consumers to play music bought from its RealPlayer Music Store on their Apple iPods. Apple responded by accusing RealNetworks of being iPod "hackers" and released an iPod firmware update blocking RealNetwork's software. Jobs' deposition will reportedly be limited to the RealNetworks incident.

Jobs is a cancer survivor who is currently on an extended medical leave from Apple. He made a surprise appearance on stage earlier this month to promote the official launch of the iPad 2.