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Apple's Steve Jobs to face US lawyers over digital music monopoly claims

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been ordered to face questions from US lawyers after antitrust complaints about the distribution of music on iTunes and Apple iPod

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been ordered to face questions from US lawyers after antitrust complaints about the distribution of music on iTunes and Apple iPod devices.

It has been alleged that Apple's policy for music downloads to its iPods via iTunes prevents some music formats from being played on its devices, thereby creating a monopoly in the business of digital music downloads.

In a ruling by US Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd, Jobs will be questioned by lawyers for up to two hours about announcements in 2004 preventing digital music files purchased from RealNetwork's online store from being played on iPod devices. RealNetworks previously used technology called Harmony to convert its files to be interoperable with iPods.

A US court document published by The Los Angeles Times says Jobs will also be asked about Apple's software updates in October 2004 "that rendered RealNetwork's digital music files once again inoperable with iPods".

The court denied a protective order sought by Apple to prevent Jobs from testifying. Jobs is currently on another bout of medical leave.

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