Steve Jobs defends Apple from the grave in iPod lawsuit

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Steve Jobs introducing the iPod mini. Photo: Apple
Steve Jobs introducing the iPod mini. Photo: Apple

 

The $350 million class action lawsuit against Apple might not even have a legitimate plaintiff anymore, but the trial continued in Oakland today with one of the key witnesses being none other than Steve Jobs himself.

The late Apple CEO appeared on a TV monitor in court today in an unreleeased deposition video that was filmed six months before his death in 2011. CNET reports that in the video Steve Jobs maintained the same stance as Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller earlier this week, that Apple wasn’t trying to block competitors and hurt customers by removing some songs off of iPods. It was simply protecting iTunes from hackers and trying to not violate its record label contracts.

Jobs’ demeanor and responses reportedly suggested he wasn’t taking the antitrust case very seriously, and that Apple didn’t perceive any competitors as legitimate threats.

“We had pretty much black and white contracts with the labels,” Jobs said in the deposition. Those contracts stipulated that if people violated Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management system, a technology that would detect other music stores’ song files and prevent users from loading them onto the iPod, “…that would be in clear violation of the licenses we had from the labels and they could cease giving us music at any time.”

Plaintiffs accuse Apple of designing iTunes so that music files from competing music services were scrubbed off iPods before they could sync to users’ libraries. Apple’s witnesses have insisted that the company only did this out of security concerns. Steve Jobs said Apple was “very scared” that hackers were trying to “do things that would put us in noncompliance with the contracts” it had with record labels.

Lawyers also accused Apple of intentionally breaking competitors software with iTunes updates that destroyed third-parties apps, but Jobs said it was just “collateral damage” for keeping iTunes safe.