Apple has asked a federal judge to dismiss a consumer antitrust lawsuit claiming the company limited choice by linking iPod music downloading to its iTunes Store, reports “Bloomberg” (http://macte.ch/APMJg).
Robert Mittelstaedt, an attorney for Apple, on Monday told U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose, California, that blocking iPod music downloads that used competitors’ software was intended to improve downloading quality for iTunes customers. Changes that Apple made in 2004, just days after Internet music software company RealNeteworks announced a technology allowing songs from its online store to be played on iPods, weren’t anticompetitive, he said.
“Apple’s view is that iPods work better when consumers use the iTunes jukebox rather than third party software that can cause corruption or other problems,” Mittelstaedt said at a hearing.
In March Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd ordered Apple CEO Steve Jobs to answer questions for two hours about RealNetworks’ Harmony technology. This technology was rolled out in 2004 and briefly allowed songs sold by RealNetworks’ online music store to be played on iPods, despite Apple’s use at the time of encryption technology to prevent this. Apple issued an iPod and iTunes software update shortly thereafter that disabled this interoperability.
The order stemed from a 2005 class action suit led filed against Apple, led by Thomas Slattery, alleging Apple’s use of FairPlay encryption technology gave it a monopoly on the digital player and audio download markets.
Before 2009, Apple used FairPlay on songs bought from its iTunes music store to stop users from making unauthorized copies of tracks. FairPlay limited the playing of these songs to iPods, which meant users with other types of digital music players could not play them, and made it so that other digital music purchases with their own copy-preventing encryption couldn’t be played on an iPod. Users have always been able to copy their own songs from CDs into iTunes and move that music onto their iPods.
— Dennis Sellers