Judge Howard Lloyd of U.S. District Court for Northern California has ordered Steve Jobs to answer questions at a deposition for two hours. Jobs is currently away from work on sick leave.
Apple is defending a class action lawsuit that claims it established a monopoly on the music downloading industry by not allowing non-iTunes files to be played on the iPod. At issue is the FairPlay digital rights management software. Originally, iPods would only play files that were encoded with Apple magic pixie dust. But, a couple years after iTunes was introduced, RealPlayer introduced a program that would sprinkle a little imitation pixie dust on your files and let you put them on your iPod. But, the evil Apple overlords disabled the RealPlayer fix and RealPlayer abandoned its efforts out of fear of a law suit by Apple.
In granting the plaintiffs' request for a deposition, the court found that "Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, first hand knowledge about Apple’s software updates in October 2004 that rendered the RealNetworks’s digital music files once again inoperable with iPods."
Really, judge? No one else at Apple knew the details of the software updates? Was Steve Jobs writing the code himself? I know every time I get pancreatic cancer I run off to write some iTunes code. Surely there is someone else at Apple who can be deposed that doesn't have so many medical issues that Dr. House would jump at the chance to find the cause.
A note to the plaintiff's counsel: Do not ask if Apple uses a copy machine.
[AP via Chicago Breaking Business]