Apple's been hit with antitrust lawsuits
over the dominance of the iPod / iTunes system before
, but there's a new case brewing down California way that argues not that Apple has illegally tied the iPod to iTunes, but that Apple has abused its dominant market position by not supporting WMA. That's right, we've come full circle -- Apple is now being accused of locking Microsoft out of the market. The case, brought by San Diego attorney Stacie Somers, claims that since Apple disables the WMA functionality of the PortalPlayer chip inside many iPods, it's shipping "crippleware," and that it's doing so deliberately to abuse its position as the market leader. Of course, unprotected WMA files import into iTunes on Windows just fine
, so this is really a DRM compatibility issue -- and given Apple's official position
on DRM and the fact that Microsoft's own Zunes don't exactly play nice
with all the flavors of WMA DRM, this suit could be over sooner than expected.
Disclaimer: Although this post was written by an attorney, it is not meant as legal advice or analysis, and should not be taken as such.