back to article Dead Steve Jobs accuses Real Networks of 'hacking' iPods

The Apple iPod antitrust case kicked off yesterday as lawyers suggested that emails from the late Steve Jobs showed he intentionally broke competition laws by restricting music purchases for iTunes customers. Early iPod fanbois and gurls are suing the fruity firm for unfairly blocking competition in digital music by forcing …

  1. D@v3


    I've been using iPods, and itunes for (what seems like) a very long time (first one was the one with a firewire connector and four buttons round the wheel) and have never had any problems either putting non itunes purchased music on it, or on any other device for that matter.

    My impression has always been, of course they want you to use itunes to buy your music, but if you don't no problem, hence why they allow you to rip cd's into itunes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      Think you are missing the point, The point is NOT to use iTunes at all.

      1. D@v3

        Re: I may have misunderstood, i was referring to this

        "forcing users to buy solely from iTunes"

      2. El_Fev

        Re: Really?

        I think your missing the point , there were loads of other MP3 Players on the market, no one was forced to buy an iPod

        1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

          Re: Really?

          Nobody was forced to buy an iPod, but once they owned one Apple did their level best to force them to buy music from iTunes. Furthermore if you bought you music from iTunes they then tried their best to prevent you from using it on any other device or player. The only way to do that IIRC was to burn the music onto a CD then rip it back into MP3 format.

          The worst thing about those cade however is claiming that they blocked Real Networks as a security measure to protect users. Protect them against what exactly? Freedom?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      I thought that the DRM used by Apple prevented music purchased through iTunes from being played via any software other than iTunes (and whatever OS the iPod ran).

      Additionally the only DRM compatible digital downloads that could be played on the iPod were those from Real Networks, that is until Jobs decided to nix them.

      Glad I owned an iRiver...

  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "emails from the late Steve Jobs"

    Now that is some Apple technology worth having. The new iPhone666, you can take it with you!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "emails from the late Steve Jobs"

      Well... according to DrWho they DO have ipads in the afterlife...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you there Steve?

    tap once on the app for yes and twice for no.

  4. Otto is a bear.


    iTunes isn't a purchase mechanism as such, yes it let's you buy from apple, and it's the easyest route, but I don't use the Apple store much, and purchase other ways. To me the most important function of iTunes is that it allows me to organise my music and stuff, and backup my phone.

    My Sony, Nokia 6210 and Blackberry phones all came with propriety software interfaces, as did my Palms, and I don't ever remember anyone else demanding to write interfaces for them, I doubt anyone tried. The only reason I can see that this is happening is that Apple became the biggest player through customer choice, and others wanted a slice, and think Apple should be obliged to let them have market share.

    What do these people think Apple should have done, considering the up front risk they were taking. Even once successful, changing their market strategy would have been a very brave move even for Steve Jobs, hey investors, we are going to cut our margins, reduce our profits, and let competitors in, reducing the value of your stock.

    It has always been, if you play with Apple you play with their Rules, if you don't like it, well there's always Android, Microsoft and Linux. We the consumer gave Apple their market, because we pretty much like them.

    1. ForthIsNotDead

      Re: Huh?

      @Otto - there's so much wrong with your post that I can assume you're trolling, or a fanboi, or both.

      Assuming the information in the article to be accurate, you have (conveniently) completely ignored the fact that Apple released a software update that deliberately broke a competitors software. Not only is it illegal, it is completely untenable, and is demonstrative of the absolute lack of ethical and moral fibre that is endemic at Apple.

      I'm glad I've never given Apple a penny of my money.

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: Huh?

        You've got that the wrong way around. Imagine you are a company selling music players. A competitor finds a security hole in your software's DRM scheme that alows them to sell DRMed music to your customers. They pay you not a bean for this. You have promised the music labels that you will keep the DRM secure. Should you be forced to break your word to the labels and lose profit to your competition, or can you fix the hole?

        1. ForthIsNotDead

          Re: Huh?

          @Steve Todd

          Ah, thanks for the clarification. Yes, that does paint a rather different picture. Thanks.

          1. Steve Todd

            Re: Huh?

            @ForthIsNotDead - you're welcome. Often these things aren't as cut and dried as people try to make out. Apple aren't saints, but an understanding of why they've done something often reveals the reason not to be as bad as as being portraid.

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Huh?

        Apple broke a competitor's DRM. The competitor could have very easily sold music the way that everyone sells music today: Without DRM. The "Real" guys had an application that removed Real's DRM and added faked iTunes DRM. Apple broke that. The really trivial technical solution was for Real to remove Real's DRM and not to try to add anything.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: removed Real's DRM and added faked iTunes DRM.

          So what you're saying here is that Real is the reason we now suffer under DCMA?

          Because you've admitted Real intentionally broke the DRM on Apple's product.

    2. Eddy Ito

      Re: Huh?

      "My Sony, Nokia 6210 and Blackberry phones all came with propriety software interfaces, as did my Palms, and I don't ever remember anyone else demanding to write interfaces for them, I doubt anyone tried."

      I think you'll see the Palm phones worked with iTunes and Apple did everything in their power to break that even though it could have helped their iTunes sales.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Huh?

      Personally I've always considered Jobs to be a complete butthead. But I don't see a monopoly issue here.

      1. wayward4now

        Re: Huh?

        Well, you could just see a monopoly issue if you completely hate on Jobs as much as I do. Good thing I am not on a jury deciding Apple's fate, as I could take naps and briefly waken to push the GUILTY button every ten minutes. :) Did I mention I really DESPISE Apple??

  5. clanger9

    My memory is fading...

    But it seems either the reporter (or the lawyers - I can't tell which) have got the story slightly back to front.

    You've *always* been able to put non-DRM music on any iPod via iTunes. However, if you want to play DRM'd music on an iPod then it has to be Apple's own. I suppose this is what Real are complaining about: "Apple won't let iPod users buy crappy DRM'd music from *our* store!"

    The problem for Real was that iPods were popular and Apple weren't interested in letting them put Real's DRM onto iPods

    If I remember correctly, there was some "hack" around at the time which fooled iPods into accepting content from Real networks by fooling the iPod into thinking it was talking to iTunes and Apple closed this loophole by pushing out a firmware update.

    Or did I get this wrong? I don't remember "iTunes" ever "blocking" users from putting content on an iPod. On the other hand, it's never offered a choice of "DRM'd music store", but seeing as the music-buying public had already got bitten once and quickly flocked to non-DRM stores instead (emusic, We7, Amazon and now iTunes Store), this is a moot point.

    If Real had had half a clue, they'd have recognised this and offered non-DRM music. Problem solved.

  6. Mark Allen

    Putting music onto an iDevice needs iTunes

    So many ways to read this. I thought the main complaint was that you *have* to install iTunes to be able to put music onto an iDevice. Whereas almost all other MP3 players allow you to use multiple programs to put music onto them as most other MP3 players have an option to present themselves as a dumb USB hard disk.

    You own the device, so you should be able to choose where to buy your music from.

    The earliest iPods were capable of being accessed without iTunes. This meant that Real Networks and *any* other company could sell you music and put it onto the device.

    Winamp is a classic example here as they can put music onto only the first three(?) generations of iPods. Then there is a point in time that iPods were locked up solid. Meanwhile almost every other type of MP3 player does have a plugin written for it for Winamp to allow you to copy music on to your device.

    Don't quite understand the comment "Otto is a bear" made: "My Sony, Nokia 6210 and Blackberry phones all came with propriety software interfaces, as did my Palms"

    I owned that Nokia - and you could not play music on it.

    I also have a Blackberry. And this can certainly be managed by Winamp. Just attach to a computer like a USB flash drive drag and drop music into the correct folder. Or even simpler - the way I actually put the music on the phone is using Drag and Drop to the SDCard in the phone.

    Yeah, most phone companies supply propriety software to access all the features of their phones, but every phone I've come across also allows you to access the memory card without the software.

  7. Shane Sturrock

    Contracted DRM requirements

    This all comes down to DRM. The music industry insisted on it or they wouldn't let Apple sell music through iTunes. They had similar deals with other companies such as Microsoft who also sold DRMed music for the Zune and that wouldn't play on an iPod.

    Real tried to get a piece of the action by faking Apple's DRM scheme and there's little doubt that this hack would have needed fixing otherwise the music industry would pull their right to sell any music but we haven't seen the contracts so can't say for sure. Whatever the issue, stores selling non-DRM music never had a problem selling to iPod users.

    In the end, the finger of blame points squarely at the music industry. Jobs didn't like DRM and wrote a long letter about just why he thought it was a bad thing. Eventually, we got DRM free and higher bit rate music from iTunes because Apple had the power to force it to happen. Those files play on anything that can handle AAC files. That's where we are today. This lawsuit was a symptom of what the music industry was doing rather than anything specific that Apple was doing other than meeting the terms of their contract with the music industry. Sure, Apple used the strength of the iPod and iTunes to their advantage but in the end we all got a better deal because DRM music is all but dead now.

  8. Vector


    “It posed a danger to the consumer Apple experience and to the quality profitability of the product,”

  9. Oninoshiko

    I'm not sure "do they still exist?" is exactly the best defense in an anti-trust case...

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