There are some days when it feels like Steve Jobs is the only person who works at Apple, judging by the number of times his name is cited when anyone has a complaint against the company.
Now, a US judge has ordered him to answer questions relating to monopolistic behavior over the iPod and the iTunes Store back in 2004. Then, Apple made changes to the iPod software which disrupted RealNetwork's Harmony software, designed to allow songs purchased from the RealNetworks online store to be transferred to the iPod. Thomas Slattery, who filed the class action suit against Apple in 2005, said this violated antitrust and unfair competition laws.
At worst, lawyers can force Steve Jobs to spend two hours answering questions for a deposition on the matter, although Apple lawyers are pushing to have the whole case dismissed next month -- parts of it have already been dismissed. Today, you can put music downloaded or ripped from just about anywhere on your iPod, iPhone or iPad via iTunes, and music tracks sold in the iTunes Store no longer come with DRM.
"The court finds that Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge about the issues at the center of the dispute over RealNetworks software," said magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd in San Jose, California. Like I said, some days Steve Jobs is the only person who's ever worked at Apple.