Steve Jobs' video testimony and emails revealed in 'iPod iTunes' antitrust lawsuit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2014
A video deposition from Steve Jobs recorded as evidence in a long-running iPod/iTunes antitrust lawsuit was shown for the first time in court on Tuesday, revealing not only Jobs' thoughts on the case, but also a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a former Apple run by its cofounder.

Steve Jobs


Taped in 2011, Jobs' testimony, along with multiple emails passed between Apple execs, is only now making its way to court as plaintiffs' evidence in a class-action lawsuit regarding iPod and the iTunes Music Store. The deposition also happens to be one of the last videos recorded by Jobs before his death later that year.

While a written transcript is not yet available for public viewing, multiple in-court reports offer a brief rundown of the most salient points. According to CNN Money, most of the questions asked by a lawyer representing the plaintiffs were in regard to RealNetworks, a key subject in the case currently asserted against Apple.

Jobs' first response was itself a question and reportedly characteristic of his entire testimony. "Do they still exist?" Jobs quipped, referring to RealNetworks.

Throughout the deposition, Jobs was evasive, saying he either forgot or didn't know the answers to numerous questions. He said "I don't remember," "I don't know" or "I don't recall" a total of 74 times, CNN reports, and replied similarly when asked if he knew why Apple was being sued.

The complaint is a carryover from a 2005 lawsuit involving Apple's supposedly tactical moves to block songs purchased on RealNetworks' RealPlayer online store from being played on iPod. One of the key arguments revolves around an iTunes update allegedly pushed out to break compatibility with Harmony, a technology created by Real that allowed users to playback non-iTunes music on iPod.

Plaintiffs allege Apple sought to create a monopoly by creating a closed ecosystem with FairPlay digital rights management (DRM), the iPod and the iTunes Music Store. The class includes individuals and businesses who bought iPod classic, iPod shuffle, iPod touch or iPod nano models between Sept. 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009.

Lawsuit


Although Jobs seemed to have put the matter behind him, email correspondence from 2004 is more permanent, as Reuters reports.

"How's this? 'We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod,'" Jobs wrote in an email asking Apple executives about a potential press release regarding RealNetworks. In reply, Apple's head of marketing Phil Schiller said he liked the idea of "likening them to hackers."

The email foreshadowed Jobs' 2011 testimony, when he said Apple was "very scared" of breaking digital sales terms stipulated by record labels. Although iTunes no longer carries DRM-protected content, at the time Jobs said Apple was under constant pressure by labels to keep music secure, which in turn prompted frequent iTunes updates as "hackers" found new workarounds. Apple had part of the initial suit tossed in 2009 after reaching an agreement with music labels to strip DRM from iTunes Store content.

When asked by the attorney if he thought the emails about Real sounded "strong and vehement," Jobs demurred.

"They don't sound too angry to me when I read them," Jobs said. " "Usually, a vehement - I don't know about the word 'vehement,' but a strong response from Apple would be a lawsuit."

More email correspondence is expected to come out as proceedings continue in the coming two weeks.

Plaintiffs are seeking $350 million in damages from Apple, an amount that would automatically be tripled to over $1 billion under U.S. antitrust laws.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,076member

    What is this, 6 negative headlines in a row now? Looks like the 2nd great stock tanking strategy of 2014 is in full swing, with sites like this gleefully participating. 

  • Reply 2 of 22
    It's "shit on Apple week". I assume everyone got the analyst memo?
  • Reply 3 of 22
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

     

    What is this, 6 negative headlines in a row now? Looks like the 2nd great stock tanking strategy of 2014 is in full swing, with sites like this gleefully participating. 


    Don't be ridiculous - stories like this don't change Apple's stock price one penny.

  • Reply 4 of 22
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member

    I remember when Real was an actual company, with its proprietary internet media player. It wouldn't let you play Real content on any other player (like QuickTime), and it was really annoying. NPR used it for a time for streaming stories from their website.

     

    I wonder what Real would have done if a company had hacked their RealPlayer DRM.

  • Reply 5 of 22
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

     
    ...most of the questions asked by a lawyer representing the plaintiffs were in regard to Real...BUFFERING...Networks, a key subject in the case currently asserted against Apple.


     

    Fixed that for you.

  • Reply 6 of 22
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    He said "I don't remember," "I don't know" or "I don't recall" a total of 74 times

    That's in stark contrast to Bill Gates, back in 1999:

    200 `I don't knows'


    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19990316&slug=2949718
  • Reply 7 of 22
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member
    A real class act. /s
  • Reply 8 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post



    A real class act. /s



    Jobs may not have pleased everyone, and he did make mistakes, but calling him classless is a bit too much.

  • Reply 9 of 22
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,371member

    I see that Steve took a lesson from Ronald Reagan. Maybe Steve have alzheimer's like Reagan and really could not remember.

     

    This is the key part of this case

     

    Quote:


    Jobs said Apple was under constant pressure by labels to keep music secure, which in turn prompted frequent iTunes updates as "hackers" found new workarounds.


     Apple was required to block any attempts of breaking the DRM, it is the law of the land.

  • Reply 10 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    It's "shit on Apple week". I assume everyone got the analyst memo?

    I like Apple products -- I have an Iphone and an Ipad -- And I have used Apple products offs and on since the days of the Apple II+.

     

    It's about time this site began objectively covering Apple.

  • Reply 11 of 22
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

     

    I see that Steve took a lesson from Ronald Reagan. Maybe Steve have alzheimer's like Reagan and really could not remember.

     

    This is the key part of this case


     

    Give me a break.  If you asked me a bunch of questions in a high-stakes setting under oath, my go-to and completely honest answer for most questions about what I did or said 5 years ago would be "I don't remember."  Remember, our legal system is designed to be adversarial.  If I committed a murder on 3 minutes after midnight on January first, and you ask me if I killed anyone on December 31st, I would be an idiot to say anything other than "no."  I am under no obligation to volunteer additional information.  So if you ask me a specific question and I can't be sure of the answer, the right reply is "I don't remember."

  • Reply 12 of 22
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    "Plaintiffs allege Apple sought to create a monopoly by creating a closed ecosystem with FairPlay digital rights management (DRM), the iPod and the iTunes Music Store."

     

    This is the part of anti-trust law that is really annoying.  It's such a squishy subject.  Ask any business person selling any product or service if they wouldn't like to completely dominate the market and they would (probably) say yes.  Therefore almost everyone is "seeking to create a monopoly."  Is "creating a closed ecosystem" illegal?  Of course not, people create proprietary (non)standards and tie-in restrictions all the time.  So you take a legitimate and common goal/aspiration and a legitimate and common business tactic and put them together and--if you are successful--are likely to end up in court.  And ultimately did Apple create a monopoly in music sales or the sale of music players?  Of course not and they never came close to doing so.  Case dismissed.

  • Reply 13 of 22
    malax wrote: »
    "Plaintiffs allege Apple sought to create a monopoly by creating a closed ecosystem with FairPlay digital rights management (DRM), the iPod and the iTunes Music Store."

    This is the part of anti-trust law that is really annoying.  It's such a squishy subject.  Ask any business person selling any product or service if they wouldn't like to completely dominate the market and they would (probably) say yes.  Therefore almost everyone is "seeking to create a monopoly."  Is "creating a closed ecosystem" illegal?  Of course not, people create proprietary (non)standards and tie-in restrictions all the time.  So you take a legitimate and common goal/aspiration and a legitimate and common business tactic and put them together and--if you are successful--are likely to end up in court.  And ultimately did Apple create a monopoly in music sales or the sale of music players?  Of course not and they never came close to doing so.  Case dismissed.

    Yes. "Seeking to create a monopoly" is different from actually HAVING a monopoly and it is not illegal.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    Jobs may not have pleased everyone, and he did make mistakes, but calling him classless is a bit too much.




    You did see his "/s" indicating sarcasm right?

  • Reply 15 of 22
    prokipprokip Posts: 137member
    Mikey,

    It is important that your readers understand that anti-trust is translated anti-monopoly in most other jurisdictions in the world. Anti-trust laws exist to stop companies using their market power as a monopoly, harming consumers and their rights to purchase in a competitive market.

    So in this case Apple, unfortunately acted like a bully!!

    Real networks were good guys and were very important in the early days of music on your PC. It is sad they were clobbered out of existence. Jobs owed them a little respect. in the same way he was owed respect for his pioneering work.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by joshuarayer View Post

     



    You did see his "/s" indicating sarcasm right?


     

    Right, but his comment was a positive one ("what a class act") and therefore the /s meant that he didn't mean it.  Unless this was a case of double reverse sarcasm making fun of a hypothetical someone who might have said "what a class act" sarcastically...  /s  ;-)

  • Reply 17 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by joshuarayer View Post

     

    You did see his "/s" indicating sarcasm right?


     

    Yes, the "/s" indicates that DFTW intended the opposite of what he wrote.  Seemed like an appropriate response to me.

  • Reply 18 of 22
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by prokip View Post



    Mikey,



    It is important that your readers understand that anti-trust is translated anti-monopoly in most other jurisdictions in the world. Anti-trust laws exist to stop companies using their market power as a monopoly, harming consumers and their rights to purchase in a competitive market.



    So in this case Apple, unfortunately acted like a bully!!



    Real networks were good guys and were very important in the early days of music on your PC. It is sad they were clobbered out of existence. Jobs owed them a little respect. in the same way he was owed respect for his pioneering work.

    It's simplistic and pointless to characterize any company as "good guys" in a competitive marketplace.  Did they "respect" the agreement that Apple had with the record labels (and with consumers who purchased music and music players from Apple under a certain legal regime) by hacking the DRM?  The fact is that in the rough and tumble marketplace companies make decisions to further their own interests, often at the expense of competitors.  I would characterize what Apple did as protecting their own system (and the agreements they had entered into with the record labels); you characterize it as them being a bully.  I expect the top reasons Apple did what it did were a) because they had to maintain a good relationship with the record labels which were at the nacent stage at that points and b) to avoid a bad user experience of Apple products by people using these DRM hacks from Real.  And somewhere down the list was "to encourage people to buy music from us rather than Real."  Given that Real's share of the purchased music marketplace was never more than "trivial" that third reason is silly.

  • Reply 19 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by elroth View Post

     

    Don't be ridiculous - stories like this don't change Apple's stock price one penny.




    Oh really now? Because perception of a company has nothing to do with analysts reporting... If you were to look on CNN money, or Forbes or BBC news, these fools write articles that quote sites like apple insider and macrumors. 

  • Reply 20 of 22
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by prokip View Post



    Mikey,



    It is important that your readers understand that anti-trust is translated anti-monopoly in most other jurisdictions in the world. Anti-trust laws exist to stop companies using their market power as a monopoly, harming consumers and their rights to purchase in a competitive market.



    So in this case Apple, unfortunately acted like a bully!!



    Real networks were good guys and were very important in the early days of music on your PC. It is sad they were clobbered out of existence. Jobs owed them a little respect. in the same way he was owed respect for his pioneering work.



    Didn't they tie in with BonziBuddy?

     

    Pure class.

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