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Music The Courts Apple

Steve Jobs Questioned In iTunes Monopoly Suit 370

Posted by samzenpus
from the I've-seen-this-episode-already dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Twelve years ago Bill Gates had to deal with lawyers questioning him in regards to the Microsoft antitrust case. Now it might be that other tech mogul's turn. Steve Jobs has been ordered to answer questions regarding Apple's iTunes music monopoly. From the article: 'US Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd, based in San Jose, California, ruled on Monday that lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the antitrust lawsuit may question Jobs for a total of two hours. Apple may appeal the decision. A company spokeswoman declined to comment, while attorneys for the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment.'"
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Steve Jobs Questioned In iTunes Monopoly Suit

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  • Re:Unlike Gates (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jijok (2024576) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:39PM (#35592956)
    If Windows wasn't a good OS, why are everyone using it?
  • Re:Unlike Gates (Score:2, Insightful)

    by growse (928427) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:40PM (#35592968) Homepage
    You think iTunes is *good*?

    You must lead a sheltered life.
  • Re:Unlike Gates (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:43PM (#35592994) Homepage Journal

    I never realized that "good" was a synonym for "buggy, bloated, restrictive piece of shit."

  • Re:Bad guys (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ePhil_One (634771) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:43PM (#35592998) Journal
    Exactly, that bastard Steve forced the record companies to accept his tyrannical 99 cent pricing policy and allow me to burn purchased songs to CD's where they can be ripped back to MP3 free of the restrictions! We must end his monopoly on rights restricted downloadable music for the iPod! Other companies MUST be free to sell us restricted license music & video for our iPods! Unite!
  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:44PM (#35593010) Homepage
    Are people dumb enough not to be using Amazon for music? Even then what actually ties you to buying music from iTunes? Hell what ties you to using iTunes to get music on your iPod? I'm doing quite well without it on my Linux machine.
  • Re:Unlike Gates (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:46PM (#35593034)

    Then you are free to use Amazon's service (and I guess there may be others).

    I'm not really sure how they have a monopoly, when it's dead simple to opt for Amazon, instead. I use iTunes as my player and it's the most convenient podcast client I've found (because I listen to a lot of them), but I've never bought a single song on iTunes. I save that for Amazon. Better quality. Better prices. Re-downloadable. No DRM.

    They may have some shitty business practices, when it comes to the operation of their app stores and itunes stores, but they have almost single-handedly kept music from being tied to nothing more than CDs for another twenty years, which is what would have happened if they hadn't leveraged against the music industry to strong-arm them into the 21st century, as they bit and kicked every inch of the way.

  • by Mr. McGibby (41471) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:49PM (#35593066) Homepage Journal

    Only iTunes can place rights restricted music using the native "Fairplay" DRM on the iPod. That is how it is a monopoly. Everybody else has to use unrestricted formats.

    Yeah, wow. That's really stifling competition.

  • Re:Unlike Gates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uniquename72 (1169497) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:52PM (#35593108)

    mostly a public who know no better.

    I would argue that this applies to iTunes as well.

  • Re:Bad guys (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSeventh (824276) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:59PM (#35593196)
    Or how about Apple's monopoly on the iPhone/iPad apps?

    Want to develop software that the iPhone already provides? Good luck. Your own browser version? It's possible, but it'll be slow because only Safari can be fast, and that's how Jobs wants it. Your own email client? Maybe, maybe not. Their rules for letting apps competing with stock applications into the App store aren't really that clear, regardless of what their criteria actually says.

    Haven't they learned anything from all of Microsoft's troubles? Or does Jobs think he's immune to all of that nonsense because Apple Lovers don't complain much. Whatever Apple does is the right way to do it. Pass the Kool-Aid please.
  • by sockonafish (228678) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @07:00PM (#35593204)

    That's just Apple refusing to support a DRM scheme other than their own, especially one that essentially broke Apple's DRM.

    Unencumbered media would still have loaded onto an iPod just fine. If Real weren't so incompetent, they would've pioneered DRM-free music sales, and might have saved themselves from becoming irrelevant.

  • by Bobfrankly1 (1043848) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @07:02PM (#35593224)

    Only iTunes can place rights restricted music using the native "Fairplay" DRM on the iPod. That is how it is a monopoly. Everybody else has to use unrestricted formats.

    Yeah, wow. That's really stifling competition.

    If you want to purchase music from an artist or label that refuses to sell in an unrestricted format, then the iTunes store is your only avenue, short of (illegally?) ripping the music from a CD. Need an example? Try buying a Beatles MP3 on Amazon. It's all cover bands.

  • Re:Unlike Gates (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GIL_Dude (850471) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @07:02PM (#35593230) Homepage
    You certainly make a good point about how there are a lot of devices that can / could handle general computing tasks that are not "PCs" (such as tablets and phones) and that those generally don't run Windows. However, today, most of those devices are still considered secondary devices - and many of them require a PC or Mac in order to get their updates. This will change, and not all of them require it. But - right now - most of them are ancillary devices. For example, most updates for the iPhone require it be tethered to a PC / Mac in order to get them. In the Android world, many phones do OTA updates (like my Motorola Droid), but my Wife's HTC Aria just got an update to 2.2.2 and it had to be applied tethered to a PC (not a Mac) and was a wipe and load. I do believe that it won't be too long before most of these devices dispense with that tethered connection. Today though I have to consider a lot of them as secondary devices - and unlike Steve Jobs I can't call them "post PC devices" when they still require a PC / Mac in order to get updates.
  • Re:Bad guys (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Master Moose (1243274) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @07:04PM (#35593246) Homepage

    Microsoft hate is too firmly infused in my being to make them a saint.

    I can not imagine a world where I can not swear at, derride, and hate M$.

    I thought it was a compulsary part of the /. account requiremnts.

  • Re:Bad guys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrb (1083577) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @07:29PM (#35593496)

    Exactly, that bastard Steve forced the record companies to accept his tyrannical 99 cent pricing policy and allow me to burn purchased songs to CD's where they can be ripped back to MP3 free of the restrictions

    Points which are irrelevant to the antitrust case in question. Back in 2004, RealPlayer could be used to transfer FairPlay compatible music to the ipod. Apple said "We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA and other laws." After that, Apple changed the firmware to break the RealPlayer generated files.

    If the Zune had reached 74% market share, and Apple had responded by adding the capability to download itunes music to the Zune, and Microsoft then broke that and blocked Apple from the market, you would be outraged. This is no different.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @07:42PM (#35593630)

    It's not about buying music from iTunes. It's about Apple killing music from a competing retailer on the iPod.

    This assumes Apple has any obligation whatsoever to support third party DRM'd music stores on their iPod. I see no reason why that should be the case.

  • Re:ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @07:47PM (#35593684)

    OK, because everyone seems to forget this, every time the 'monopoly' work is brought up.

    It is not illegal to have a monopoly. It is illegal to abuse a monopoly.

    They are not being sued because everyone uses them, they're being sued because they used their monopoly status to limit competition.

    Apple never had a monopoly in music players or music downloads. They lead both of those markets, but never abused that status in any legally reasonable sense. Apple wasn't blocking Real from selling music. In fact, they weren't even blocking Real from selling music compatible with the iPod. They have no obligation whatsoever to allow third party music on the iPod.

  • by EXTomar (78739) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @07:52PM (#35593726)

    How is Amazon's inability to secure The Beatles proof that iTunes has a monopoly? Hell a year ago iTunes didn't have The Beatles either where I find it hard to believe Apple Records suddenly went "Now that iTunes is a monopoly on the download music market, we will jump in!"

    On the other hand, Apple Records has a history of shrewdly protect their rights on The Beatles and has rejected many deals as along the way where it appears that Apple Computer Inc kept negotiating till they got a deal Apple Records agreed too. Added to this nothing is stopping Amazon from making similar concessions where it is only up to Amazon leaders to decide if The Beatles library is worth suspected cost.

  • by langelgjm (860756) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @07:53PM (#35593742) Journal

    So, I had to really cut down that quote to get it to fit in my sig. Here is the full quote.

    There are those who confidently claim that making a copy of music on your hard drive is an act of space shifting protected by the fair use privilege. I'm sure that some people engage in such space shifting, for example by copying music files from lawfully purchased CDs onto their computer hard drives. But anybody why thinks that that is fair use is going out on a limb... I am not saying that it is frivolous to argue that space shifting is fair use. I am not saying that I would be shocked if some court were to conclude that it is fair use. But I don't happen to believe that it is, and I do happen to believe that anyone who makes such a a copy on a hard drive without the consent of the copyright owner is probably engaging in copyright infringement.

    The citation is David O. Carson (former General Counsel for the US Copyright Office), "Making the Making Available Right Available", 33 Colum. J. L. & Arts. 135, 138.

  • Re:Bad guys (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:26PM (#35593948)
    That is a really twisted view you have there. The iPod and iTunes are separate products. If they weren't, you wouldn't be able to buy/use one without the other.

    An accurate analogy would be reusing a McDonald's cup for your drink at Burger King. Although it might look a bit weird, there is nothing wrong with it.
  • Re:Bad guys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by exomondo (1725132) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:47PM (#35594086)

    You're supposed to have a "monopoly" over your own products.

    He was referencing the fact that not only does it bundle its own software but if you develop software that functionally duplicates on of their apps you likely can't even distribute that (according to the dev agreement). MS can't even bundle its own software on its product even though it gives you absolute freedom to install whatever other software you want.

    So where apple can quite happily bundle safari with iOS and tell you what you can and cannot install MS can't bundle IE with Windows even though they impose no restrictions on what you can and can't install.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:47PM (#35594090)

    As with any antitrust analysis, if you define the domain narrowly enough, then you will find a monopoly.

    Only McDonald's makes Big Macs. It's obviously a monopoly on Big Macs...

  • Re:Bad guys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by exomondo (1725132) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:48PM (#35594096)

    Or how about Apple's monopoly on the iPhone/iPad apps?

    Uh, yeah, this argument doesn't really carry any water until you set your sights on Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

    Well it actually does, it's just that it applies equally to them as well. There's no rule that says you have to have a go at Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft before you're allowed to have a go at Apple.

  • Re:Bad guys (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:56PM (#35594166)

    Or how about Apple's monopoly on the iPhone/iPad apps?

    Uh, yeah, this argument doesn't really carry any water until you set your sights on Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

    Well it actually does, it's just that it applies equally to them as well. There's no rule that says you have to have a go at Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft before you're allowed to have a go at Apple.

    No, it just reeks of bias and damages your appearance of objectivity.

  • Re:ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:57PM (#35594168)

    Apple never had a monopoly in music players or music downloads.

    Yes it does.

    Monopoly in economic terms does not mean 100% of the market, it means enough market share to "determine significantly on which terms" others can access that market.

    MS has never had 100% of the OS market, but for a long time MS has had enough to prevent others from accessing it. By the same token, Apple has been using it's influence to make non-Apple MP3 players disappear from store shelves. To fix prices at which other stores can sell MP3's and prevent other stores from operating in certain nations (As an Australian the only digital alternative I have to ITMS is piracy).

    Sorry but Apple is both a monopoly and abusing that position.

  • Re:Bad guys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @09:00PM (#35594192)

    I don't see what the problem is. Yes, you should enforce the law against all of the companies that are breaking it.

  • by Carewolf (581105) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:25AM (#35596086) Homepage

    That is pretty stupid. Why would I believe this douchebag instead of using common sense, and basic concepts such as first sale? "Space shifting" was first explored with tape-recorders and was deemed legal.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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