Steve Jobs’ Emails Emerge in iPod Antitrust Case

Steve Jobs' Emails Emerge in iPod Antitrust Case

As the legal proceedings against Apple kick off today in California, the focus is once again on the iPod, a device that dominated the music industry in the early 2000s. The class action lawsuit accuses Apple of implementing measures to block music from rival stores from being used on iPods. Central to the case are communications from Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, including emails and a video deposition recorded in 2011.

Today’s trial has already brought to light several statements from Jobs. Some of these communications suggest Apple’s intent to isolate the iPod from competing music services, while others showcase Jobs’ characteristic directness.

Steve Jobs' Emails Emerge in iPod Antitrust Case

For instance, back in 2003, when Jobs heard about Music Match, a competing music service, he sent an email to Apple executives emphasizing the importance of iPod incompatibility with Music Match.

He wrote:

We need to make sure that when Music Match launches their download music store they cannot use iPod. Is this going to be an issue?

In another instance from 2005, Jobs responded to a startup that was developing technology to make non-iTunes music playable on iPods. In his communication with Jeff Robbin, known for his work on SoundJam MP, Jobs mentioned the possibility of altering their approach. According to The New York Times, which reviewed many of the related documents, Robbin and his team at iTunes were prompted to enhance their security measures to block third-party content on iPods.

Apple argues that these actions were taken to ensure the security of iPod users’ content.

Whether this justification holds up in court remains to be seen.

During his 2011 deposition, Jobs was questioned about RealNetworks, another competitor in the digital music space. According to the deposition transcript, when asked about his familiarity with RealNetworks, Jobs dismissively inquired, “Do they still exist?” He also responded with “I don’t remember” to several other questions about the company.

A transcript of the deposition included Ms. Sweeney questioning him about RealNetworks, a company that had come up with a way to allow songs sold in its store to play on iPods and other media players.

Mr. Jobs responded “I don’t remember” to many of the questions.

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Larry is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the Apple news community. With a keen eye for detail, Larry covers everything from the latest iPhone releases to in-depth reviews of the MacBook Pro and Apple Watch. His insightful articles help readers stay informed about the ever-evolving world of Apple products. Larry’s commitment to delivering accurate and engaging content makes him a valued member of the TUAW team.