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Steve Jobs testimony appears on first day of Apple versus Real trial
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NewsPoster
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Dec 2, 2014, 05:02 PM
 
In the first day of testimony in the anti-trust Apple versus Real Networks trial, the promised pre-recorded testimony from Steve Jobs was trotted out by both the plaintiff's and defendant's attorneys. When queried about the threat from Real, and what Apple's response should be in 2004, Jobs said that the statement should say that "we are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod." At stake in the trial is $350 million, as well as other antitrust actions that could possibly be applied against the Cupertino manufacturer.

Attorney Bonny Sweeney from Real led the battery of Jobs testimony, claiming that Apple knew that the competing, reverse-engineered music store would erode Apple's profits on both the device and the sale of music. Sweeney claims that Apple's software update that killed the RealPlayer software locked consumers into Apple's ecosystem, and discouraged the sale of competing devices, as well as purchases from other music stores.

This trial, the plaintiff's last chance, comes after a 2006 shift in iOS device management which disabled a Real Networks music store that it had figured out how to shoehorn on Apple's music player. Real had reverse-engineered Apple's DRM on iPods and used that information to create the Harmony DRM wrapper tool, which allowed music purchased from the Real Music store temporarily to be compatible with Apple's ubiquitous device. A software patch to the iPod broke that functionality. Apple has since shifted its own store to DRM-free music.

Apple claims that is has every right to improve its devices, as well as protect them from security threats, which is what Jobs was alluding to with his "ethics of a hacker" remark. The flaw that allowed the RealPlayer software to work "posed a danger to the consumer experience and to the quality of the product," according to Apple counsel William Isaacson.

Later, in 2011, when deposed for this trial, Jobs was asked if he was familiar with Real Networks. His only response to the question was "do they still exist?" He claimed to not remember many of the details from seven years prior, and when confronted with his own emails and the apparent angry tone, he said that "they don't sound too angry to me when I read them." When asked about his vehement response on record, he said that "a strong response from Apple would be a lawsuit."
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Dec 3, 2014 at 08:19 AM. )
     
bjojade
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Dec 2, 2014, 06:30 PM
 
This trial, the plaintiff's last chance, comes after a 2006 shift in iOS device management which disabled out a Real Networks music store that it had figured out how to shoehorn on Apple's music player. Real had figured out a way around Apple's DRM on iPods with its Harmony DRM wrapper tool, and music purchased from the Real Music store was temporarily able to play on Apple's ubiquitous device. A software patch to the iPod broke that functionality. Apple has since shifted its own store to DRM-free music.
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This is factually incorrect. Real did not find a way around DRM on the iPod. What they did is find a way to maintain DRM on their files, and still allow those DRM files to play on the iPod. The iPod has ALWAYS been able to play files that don't have a DRM wrapper on them. Had Real simply created a store without any DRM files, they would have been able to sell all they wanted. The music industry wasn't ready for that though.
     
Charles Martin
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Dec 2, 2014, 09:30 PM
 
Sorry bjojade, but you are the one who is factually incorrect. It is a matter of record in the trial -- by Real's own admission -- that they reverse-engineered Apple's DRM and used it on their files to make them protected yet compatible. You are completely correct that if Real had gone the DRM-free route, then music from their store would have always been compatible with the iPod, of course, and you're also right in placing more blame on the record labels than Real or Apple, but in point of fact Real has already said they reverse-engineered Apple's DRM and created their own version of it, called Harmony.
Charles Martin
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DiabloConQueso
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Dec 2, 2014, 11:02 PM
 
The question that will decide the winner is as follows: "Did Apple's iPod identify Real's Harmony songs as songs with Apple's own DRM scheme applied to them, or as unprotected files?"

Remember, the DRM scheme used by Apple at the time was closed and not licensed for use by anyone but Apple, and reverse-engineering software for the sake of revenue has been illegal for quite some time.
     
   
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