News broke that U.S. antitrust regulators were looking into Apple's digital music practices in late May. At the time, experts said if the probe turned into a lawsuit, Apple's best bet would be to settle given that it controls at least 70 percent of the market. But they also said that Apple would be one of few companies that has the resources to take on the "incredibly expensive and distracting" fight with the government.
The government investigation may not have turned into a lawsuit yet, but Apple is dealing with a consumer lawsuit alleging Apple created a monopoly with the iTunes Store and software on the iPod that prevented it from playing anything but music purchased from the iTunes Store. This week, The Wall Street Journal reported the court has decided the issues at stake are important enough to pull CEO Steve Jobs from medical leave to be deposed in the nearly six-year-old case.
Reuters quotes the ruling this way:
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."
As such, the court said, Jobs can be questioned for up to two hours.