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Judge Orders Steve Jobs To Answer iTunes Antitrust Questions

A judge in California has ordered Apple CEO Steve Jobs to answer questions relating to an ongoing iTunes antitrust lawsuit.

Judge Howard Lloyd of the US District Court for Northern California has declared that lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit may question Steve Jobs for a total of two hours, Reuters reports.

The lawsuit was filed by a group of consumers who alleged that Apple created a monopoly for its iTunes platform and iPod music player, by only allowing consumers to play songs on the device if they were bought from iTunes.

RealNetworks had then released new software that allowed consumers to download music from its store and play it on the iPod. Apple then sought to stifle the competition by releasing a software update that prevented users from playing songs on the iPod that were downloaded from RealNetworks.

The judge believes that the Apple CEO's knowledge of the software could be instrumental in deciding whether Apple has indeed created a monopoly.

“The court finds that Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, first hand knowledge about Apple's software updates in October 2004 that rendered the RealNetworks's digital music files once again inoperable with iPods,” the ruling said.

Apple was not willing to allow lawyers to question its CEO and had filed a memo in which it said that other company executives had the same type of knowledge that Jobs had about the software.