Antitrust lawsuit accuses Apple of online music monopoly, refusing to support Windows Media Audio

“An antitrust lawsuit filed against Apple on Dec. 31 charges the company with maintaining an illegal monopoly on the digital music market,” Thomas Claburn reports for InformationWeek.

“Plaintiff Stacie Somers, represented by attorneys Craig Briskin and Steven Skalet of Mehri & Skalet PLLC, Alreen Haeggquist of Haeggquist Law Group, and Helen Zeldes, alleges that Apple dominates the market for online video, online music, and digital music players and that its dominance constitutes a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The attorneys are seeking to have their lawsuit certified as a class action,” Claburn reports.

“The complaint against Apple claims that the company controls 75% of the online video market, 83% of the online music market, more than 90% of the hard-drive based music player market, and 70% of the Flash-based music player market,” Claburn reports.

“The complaint takes issue with Apple’s refusal to support [Microsoft’s] Windows Media Audio format.’Apple’s iPod is alone among mass-market Digital Music Players in not supporting the WMA format,’ it states, noting that America Online, Wal-Mart, Napster, MusicMatch, Best Buy, Yahoo Music, FYE Download Zone, and Virgin Digital all support WMA files,” Claburn reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A monopoly, which this isn’t anyway, is legal. It’s monopoly abuse that’s illegal. Where’s the abuse? iPods also play MP3, WAV, AIFF, among other formats. Where’s the exclusion? What is Apple supposed to do, support every also-ran, failed format in the world?

112 Comments

  1. “The complaint against Apple claims that the company controls 75% of the online video market, 83% of the online music market, more than 90% of the hard-drive based music player market, and 70% of the Flash-based music player market…

    Controlling this large amount of market share was rightfully earned. By customers liking the product and buying in droves. Nobody forced them.

    “The complaint takes issue with Apple’s refusal to support [Microsoft’s] Windows Media Audio format.’Apple’s iPod is alone among mass-market Digital Music Players in not supporting the WMA format,’ it states, noting that America Online, Wal-Mart, Napster, MusicMatch, Best Buy, Yahoo Music, FYE Download Zone, and Virgin Digital all support WMA files,” Claburn reports.

    Mirroring MDN comment, what about supporting MP3? Sadly this is ignored by these “going out of the music buisness companies.”

    Apple has every right to refuse to support a competitors file format, and having to pay royalties/fee’s to use it.

    Just becuase some companies choose a inferior format doesn’t mean Apple or us have to accept it.

  2. Lol! Total ridiculous lawsuit. Someone always trying to make money
    without researching the truth first. The lawyers always get rich on these things so obviously they take them on.

    Not only do Ipods also play MP3’s but Windows machine owners can get a free copy of iTunes, install it on their Windows only machine and play music and videos meant for iPods.

    As Mac Daily News says:

    Where is the abuse?

    Ken

  3. This if course all has to do with copy protection.

    Copy protection is hardware based, going with a Microsoft format will require eventual hardware requirements of Apple, and a early notice of upcoming products to comply with the new copy protection schemes.

    So Apple will be telling Microsoft, a hardware competitior, about future hardware products.

    No way, no how.

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