MAKER OF SHINY TOYS Apple has asked a court to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought against it by consumers.
The controversy began when Apple blocked files made by music firm Realnetworks from working on the Ipod, only days after Realnetworks launched its service. An Itunes customer, Thomas Slattery, led the charge in a class-action lawsuit against the company, claiming it was operating a monopoly and acting in an uncompetitive manner.
One of Apple's attorneys, Robert Mittelstaedt, said that the company only blocked the files to improve downloading quality for Itunes customers, a claim that is unlikely to wash with the court.
"Apple's view is that iPods work better when consumers use the iTunes jukebox rather than third party software that can cause corruption or other problems," Mittelstaedt said, according to Bloomberg.
While it's obvious that Apple products work better with Apple products, that doesn't mean users should be stripped of their ability to choose third-party products. Realnetworks' service did not have compatitibility issues or become faulty. It was deliberately blocked by Apple, which certainly raises big question marks in terms of competitive practices.
Mittelstaedt said that Apple had received 58 complaints from consumers relating to downloads and that this was the reason it updated its software to block third-party downloads. The judge asked if Apple had carried out tests to confirm that downloads from other companies were the reason behind the complaints, but Mittelstaedt said Apple had not done so.
Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, faced two hours of questioning earlier this month over the consumer antitrust lawsuit.
Apple's request for dismissal will be decided by May. µ
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