Former engineer claims Apple intended to block 100 percent of non-iTunes clients

apple antitrust ron schultz block itunes monopoly steve jobs 20071
Every time Apple seems to be skirting out of trouble in the decade-long antitrust battle that is currently being waged in a California courtroom, a new witness seems to pull the tech titan back in.

Last Friday, a former Apple engineer once involved in encrypting songs sold in the iTunes Store testified that Apple attempted to block competing services from being compatible with the iTunes Store or iPods, according to The Washington Journal. Apple is currently embroiled in the antitrust lawsuit over allegations that the company restricted competitors from being compatible with iPods in order to drive up prices between 2006 and 2009. The Plaintiffs are seeking $350 million in damages.

Ron Schultz, a former senior software engineer for Apple from January 2006 to March 2008 was recently subpoenaed to testify in court. Schultz worked directly with Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management software (DRM) which encrypted songs sold in the iTunes Store so they would only be playable on Apple devices.

Shultz described the project, codenamed “Candy,” as a plan intended to block “100% of non-iTunes clients.” While he testified that he did not wish to discuss his work with Apple from 2006-2007, he admitted outside the courtroom the FairPlay DRM created “market dominance” for the iPod, according to the report.

Schultz’s statements are not a smoking gun in this case, but add another layer to the growing stack of facts we already know. Apple has already admitted in the trial to secretly removing non-iTunes songs from users’ iPods through updates, and restricting competitors from being compatible with Apple products. Apple’s security director Augustin Farrugia proposed a rather flimsy defense for Apple’s actions, claiming potential attacks from notorious hacker DVD John and others in 2006 led Apple to employ these methods to secure users’ information.

The actions in question also happened to help Apple virtually corner the market of digital downloads through its iTunes megastore for years, helping to add mountains of cash to its billion-dollar profit sheet.

Schultz’s most revelatory remarks about his time at Apple came two years before he was subpoenaed to appear in the trial. In a 2012 academic paper entitled “The Many Facades of DRM,” Schultz explains that Apple was “locking the majority of music downloads to its devices” and had a “secret war” against iTunes hackers.

Schultz also claimed major record labels opted for DRM-free music to avoid having “songs locked to Apple’s iPod monopoly.”  Apple did not start selling all of the music in the iTunes store free of the company’s FairPlay DRM until March 2009, after working out deals with all of the major record labels. By that time, the iTunes Store had ballooned and was a year removed from becoming the largest retailer of music in the United States.

Unfortunately for the Plaintiffs, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers did not enter Schultz’s academic paper into evidence. Schultz was the final witness and the case will be deliberated by the jury this week.


Apple’s 2020 MacBooks could ditch Intel processors, arrive with ‘ARM Inside’

If you're buying a MacBook in 2020, be on the lookout for a new "ARM Inside" banner. Apple is reportedly working on transitioning away from Intel processors for its MacOS lineup in favor of new custom A-series ARM-based silicon.

Apple sends out invites for October hardware event, new iPad Pro expected

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.
Home Theater

Genius gives Apple Music a brainy boost with new lyrics integration

Genius has announced its most in-depth partnership to date with Apple Music, bringing lyrics to the app as well as making it the default player for the Genius mobile app and website.

Amy Winehouse is coming back as a ‘hologram’ for a 2019 world tour

Amy Winehouse is set for a holographic return to the stage in 2019 in a global tour featuring her greatest hits, though how fans of the late singer feel about the "comeback" is another question entirely.

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

From 'E.T." to 'Lord of the Rings,' these are the best movie soundtracks ever

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled popular music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.

Jam out in style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.
Home Theater

Make your vinyl collection really shine with one of the best phono preamps

Whether you're looking for a quick fix to set up your first turntable or a long-term audio upgrade for higher-quality sound, here are the best phono preamps you can buy that won't empty out your wallet.
Home Theater

The best MP3 players of 2018

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? No worries. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? Don't sweat it. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.

Winamp eyes big comeback in 2019 with podcast, streaming support

Classic audio player Winamp is getting a major overhaul in 2019 that's designed to bring it up-to-date and make it competitive with the likes of Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, Audible, and more, all in one go.

With Spotify for WearOS, you no longer need your phone to stream music

A Spotify app will soon be available for download on Wear OS smartwatches. Whether you're working out or lounging at home, you'll soon be able to access and control your music straight from your wrist.