Despite being on sick leave, a federal judge in the US has ordered Apple CEO Steve Jobs to appear in Court to answer questions relating to claims that the Apple iTunes store is a a “music-downloading monopoly”.U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd said he will permit limited questioning of Jobs.he class-action lawsuit was filed in 2005 by iTunes customer Thomas Slattery, who claimed the company illegally limited consumer choice by linking the iPod to iTunes.
Judge Lloyd specified that the deposition can’t exceed two hours and the only topic allowed is changes Apple made to its software in October 2004 that made digital music files from RealNetworks inoperable on the iPod.
“The court finds that Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge about the issues at the center of the dispute over RealNetworks software,” Lloyd wrote.
Bloomberg News reports that “Slattery asserted antitrust claims allegedly arising from Apple encoding its digital music files with proprietary software called FairPlay. This allowed music files purchased from the iTunes Store to be played only on iPods, and not using products by other manufacturers.”
In 2004, Seattle’s RealNetworks started to sell music from its online store that could be played on iPods through a technology called Harmony. Five days later, Apple released an update to its FairPlay software, making Harmony inoperable on iPods.
Lloyd refused requests to allow broader questioning of Jobs, who has been on medical leave from Apple since January.