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Order will see sick Steve Jobs hauled into court

Apple's poorly front man Steve Jobs has been ordered to appear in a Californian court to answer questions about iTunes.

Apple's media-mangling software, which comes pre-installed on all Macs and is pretty much essential if you want to use and of the company's mobile devices including the iPhone, iPad and various flavours of iPod, has come under fire in a class action suit which says it's unfair for Apple to insist that no-one else is allowed to install music on its gadgets.

The court case all points back to October 2004 when Apple locked forever locked an application called Harmony out of the iPod's walled garden.

Realnetworks, which owned the software in question, says that Steve Jobs has unique first-hand knowledge of the shenanigans and, despite being in recuperation after a liver transplant last year, should be hauled into court to answer up to two hours of questioning.

The case revolves around Apple's proprietary Fairplay DRM system which was regularly updated in order to keep out both the hackers, and other outfits keen to grab a slice of Apple's music-flogging income.

Apple's legal team insisted that anything Jobs had to add would be "repetitive at best" but the judge obviously wasn't listening.

Steve was well enough to turn up to the launch of the iPad 2 which may well have influenced the judge's decision somewhat.