Apple responds to (mostly scoffs at) music monopoly complaint

Summary:If Apple responds to Cisco's iPhone trademark complaint by calling it "silly" one can only imagine how the company would handle respond to a class action suit alleging a digital music monopoly. Imagine no more.

If Apple responds to Cisco's iPhone trademark complaint by calling it "silly" one can only imagine how the company would handle respond to a class action suit alleging a digital music monopoly.

Imagine no more. The response is almost comical in its ease of legal cutting and pasting.

As reported on January 2, Apple may have a music monopoly issue on its hands due to a class action suit (Tucker vs. Apple Computer) that alleges that the company dominates and controls digital music.

In the complaint (PDF download), the plaintiffs say:

"Apple has engaged in tying and monopolizing behavior, placing unneeded and unjustifiable technological restrictions on its most popular products in an effort to restrict consumer choice and restrain what little remains of its competition in the digital music markets. Apple's CEO Steve Jobs has himself compared Apple's digital music dominance to Microsoft's personal computer operating system dominance."

Apple's response (PDF download) to the complaint went through paragraph by paragraph and said:

Apple is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations, and therefore denies them.

or

The allegations are not susceptible to being answered because of their ambiguity.

or

To the extent that an answer is deemed necessary, Apple
denies the allegations.

I'm no lawyer, but the translation appears to be: "You're wasting our time with this." And just to make the point a little stronger, Apple used those aforementioned statements to respond to damn near every paragraph of the complaint. Wonder what the billable hours were for that cut and paste job?

[poll id=42] 

Of course there were "revelations" in Apple's complaint, which include:

--"Apple admits that it operates the iTunes Store (f/k/a the iTunes Music Store), that the iTunes Store can be accessed through the iTunes application, and that users may purchase and download digital music and digital video files from the iTunes Store."

--"Apple admits that consumers may buy individual songs from its iTunes Store and that the iTunes Store currently offers over 3.5 million songs."

--"Apple admits that at a November 5, 2003 financial analyst meeting, Steve Jobs’ response, in part, to a question included the phrase “. . . we are working with the Microsoft of music stores . . . .”

--"Apple admits that the iPod uses parts manufactured by third parties and that it has used the Portal Player System-On-A-Chip in some versions of its iPod. Apple lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to whether the Portal Player System-On-A-Chip supports WMA by default, and therefore denies that allegation. Apple denies that it deliberately designed the iPod’s software so that it would only play protected AAC."

--"Apple lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to whether every Digital Music Player other than the iPod that contains the SigmaTel STMP3550 plays WMA files, and therefore denies that allegation. Apple denies that it prevents the iPod Shuffle from playing WMA files."

--And this barnburner: "Apple admits that it is headquartered in Cupertino, California."

Of those, the comments about iPod Shuffle-WMA and the Portal Player, which was acquired by Nvidia, were interesting. Both should create some serious acronym headaches for jurors should this spat ever proceed.

Topics: Apple

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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