Steve Jobs to be Questioned in Antitrust Suit; May be Ousted

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A federal magistrate judge has ordered Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs answer to antitrust allegations.Lawyers of consumers who filed a class-action lawsuit in 2005 won the right to question Jobs in a 2-hour court setting about operating an alleged monopoly over music downloads. The questioning may only be on the topic of Apple's 2004 software, which made digital music files made by RealNetworks Inc. (NASDAQ:RNWK) incompatible with the iPod music player, reports Bloomberg.U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd wrote in his ruling, "The court finds that Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge about the issues at the center of the dispute over RealNetworks software."The suit claims that RealNetworks announced on July 24, 2004 a new software called Harmony that would allow customers to play music sold from its online store on iPods. However, five days later, Apple's released a software update, FairPlay, that only allowed music files purchased from iTunes to be playable on iPods and prevented digital music from other manufacturers from being played on its devices. By October, the mandatory updates had completely shut out files from RealNetworks.Apple has declined to comment.In other news, the Los Angeles Times has reported that labor union federation AFL-CIO, which holds 3.8 million Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) shares, has voted against the reelection of Jobs to the company's board of directors.Union representatives cited Jobs' responsibilities as head of Apple and his poor attendance at board meetings due to his health as the reason behind the vote. The move comes ahead of Disney's annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah this Wednesday.

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