A class action suit against Apple began this week. Consumers and businesses are suing Apple for $US350 million, claiming the company was wrong to block other programs and services from syncing with the iPod.
As part of the case, Steve Jobs gave a deposition in 2011 before his death. When asked about iTunes competitor Real Networks in that deposition, this was Jobs’ response, according to a transcript of the deposition from Reuters:
“Do they still exist?”
A little backstory:
Think back to the early days of MP3 players, before the iPod launched in 2001. There were several programs that let you manage what you put on your MP3 player, and Real Player was one of the most popular. But the iPod only worked with iTunes. Real Networks figured out a way to get the iPod to sync with its app, but Apple didn’t like that and likened it to someone “hacking” the iPod.
In the end, Apple was able to make sure all music on iPods either came from iTunes purchases or CDs users loaded into iTunes. That’s what started the lawsuit.
Since then, Real Player’s popularity waned and iTunes became the dominant way for people to manage music. By the time of Jobs’ deposition in 2011, Real Player was considered the BlackBerry of music players. No one used it.
But that’s changing again today as more people turn to streaming services like Spotify to get their music. Apple recently acquired Beats’ headphones and music streaming service for $US3 billion. It’s expected to integrate Beats streaming into iTunes next year to better compete with companies like Spotify.