Steve Jobs to appear as witness in Apple iPod trial

2 Dec 2014

Former Apple chief executive, Steve Jobs

Apple’s late chief executive is to posthumously appear at a trial as a witness to defend the company against claims that Apple used software in iTunes that forced people to buy iPods.

Six months prior to his death in 2011, Jobs had recorded a message to answer questions and put forward the company’s position relating to the lawsuit which if found a worthy case by the jury, could see Apple paying out billions of dollars, according to The Telegraph.

The original claim puts forward the case that alternative MP3 players were forced out of the market because software within iTunes forced song buyers to purchase iPods and despite the software in question not being in use anymore, the attorneys putting forward this case say that it inflated the price of iPods by almost US$350m between 2006 and 2009.

First lodged back in 2005, the piece of software that the companies claim gave Apple an unfair advantage was related to illegal file sharing and the digital encryption placed on files in iTunes when it was first launched back in 2003.

The software, known as FairPlay, which prevented copying of music from iTunes was included to appease major record labels who, at this time, were in one of the first scare periods for illegal downloading of music with a number of websites, most notably Napster, Kazaa and Limewire seeing millions of downloads a week.

According to the attorneys who put forward the case, by locking people into iTunes, Apple were able to avoid having to lower their iPod prices because competition wasn’t an issue.

Since the case was first put forward, FairPlay has been taken out of Apple’s products and software but the proponents of the lawsuit still say they are entitled to what they are owed during the software’s existence.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic