Steve Jobs has been ordered by a US Magistrate to answer questions in court in relation to a class-action lawsuit regarding the iTunes Music Store and monopolistic behavior by Apple. Bloomberg is reporting that yesterday US Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd authorized lawyers representing consumers in the complaint to engage in limited questioning of Jobs.
The limited questioning is quantified as two hours of questions and only on the topic of changes that Apple made to their iPod software in October of 2004 that disrupted RealNetworks’ Harmony software. Harmony enabled users to transfer songs purchased from the RealNetworks store, to the iPod. When it was released the software caused considerable controversy and Apple quickly accused RealNetworks of using “the tactics and ethics of a hacker” and in a subsequent iPod update Apple stopped the Harmony software from working with iPods.
The class-action lawsuit was filed by Thomas Slattery in 2005 and alleged that by requiring customers use an iPod to listen to music purchased from the iTunes store, Apple had violated federal antitrust laws as well as California’s unfair competition regulations. David Kiernan, who is representing Apple, said that “any deposition of Mr.Jobs would be repetitive, at best.”