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Apple hit with antitrust lawsuit over iTunes, iPod

A displeased customer of Apple’s iTunes Music Store is suing the company, alleging it broke antitrust laws by allowing songs purchased from the store to only work with the iPod, shutting out competitors. “The suit was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court in San Jose,” reports Reuters. “One antitrust expert called it a long shot, but Californian Thomas Slattery is hoping for unspecified damages for being ‘forced’ to buy an iPod. The key to such a lawsuit would be convincing a court that a single product brand like iTunes is a market in itself separate from the rest of the online music market, according to Ernest Gellhorn, an antitrust law professor at George Mason University. There is legal precedent for such claims, but courts usually conclude competing products as viable alternatives, Gellhorn said.”

Apple sues over unannounced product leak

  • December 17, 2004
  • Apple,

Apple is suing unnamed individuals who leaked details about an unannounced product by posting detailed information on the Web. Apple’s complaint, which was filed with the Santa Clara County California Superior Court on Dec. 13, alleges that “an unidentified individual, acting alone or in concert with others, has recently misappropriated and disseminated through Web sites confidential information about an unreleased Apple product.” Apple said it did not know the “true names or capacities, whether individual, associate, corporate or otherwise,” of the defendants, but that it would amend the complaint once they have been discovered.

Apple, Motorola on track to debut mobile phone

  • December 16, 2004
  • Apple,

Apple and Motorola could soon unveil the mobile phone they have been developing to play music from Apple’s iTunes Music Store. “We’ve said we have something coming on this in the first half of 2005 and we’re definitely on schedule for that. Hopefully you’ll be able to see more about it soon,” Eddy Cue, vice president of applications at Apple, told Forbes. “What we’ve talked about is a something that is valuable for the mass market,” Cue said. “It has to be a phone in the middle-tier of the market, not a $500-tier phone. It has to be very seamless to use. And we’re very happy with the results.”

Analyst expects 4 million iPods to be sold this quarter

  • November 22, 2004
  • Apple,

In addition to raising his price target on Apple stock to $65 from $53, Fulcrum Global Partners analyst Robert Cihra increased his estimates on iPod sales in Apple’s current quarter to 4 million from 2.9 million. Cihra also said that the iPod would account for 33 percent of the quarter’s revenue, up from 13 percent a year ago. Earlier today, Piper Jaffray raised its price target on Apple to $100 from $52, citing a definite “halo effect” among iPod owners.

iPod creates ‘word-of-mouth wildfire’

  • November 22, 2004
  • Apple,

Piper Jaffray raised its target price on Apple stock to $100 from $52, citing a “halo effect” from satisfied iPod users. The firm said that in a survey of 200 users, 6 percent were former PC users who have purchased a Mac after becoming an iPod owner, while 7 percent were former PC users who plan to buy a Mac within the next 12 months. “We believe that the remarkable satisfaction with the iPod creates a word-of-mouth wildfire that generates new customer interest in Apple products,” Piper Jaffray said.

iPod: Walkman or Betamax of 21st century?

  • November 15, 2004
  • Apple,

While Apple CEO Steve Jobs calls the iPod the “Walkman of the 21st century,” Microsoft and its allies are hoping to make it the Betamax of the 21st century, according to a report in the New York Times. “The iPod dominates its market in a way that no Apple product has done in a generation, raising the possibility that the company is becoming more than just a purveyor of computers with high design and low market share. If Apple continues to ride the wave of consumer electronics products, it may become the Sony of the 21st century. For that to happen, however, Jobs must do what he failed to do last time: prevail over his old nemesis, Bill Gates, who sees entertainment as Microsoft’s next great frontier. Microsoft is working hard to make sure that the iPod is less like the Walkman and more like the Betamax, Sony’s videocassette format that was defeated in the marketplace by VHS.”

Rate products at iPod store—just not Apple’s

  • November 4, 2004
  • Apple,

MacMinute reports: “Apple’s new iPod Store has added product ratings, allowing customers to submit reviews and rate products from one to five stars. Strangely, users can only review third-party products—all Apple gear is automatically given a ‘5-Apple rating’ because the company says “we think they’re great.” In the frequently asked questions of the reviews program, Apple tells why customers can’t rate Apple products: ‘Would you trust us to display less than perfect ratings on our own products? We didn’t think so!’”

Apple posts QuickTime video of music event

  • October 26, 2004
  • Apple,

Apple has posted a QuickTime stream of today’s music event starring Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs introducing the new iPod Photo, Special Edition U2 iPod and more. “Steve Jobs, Bono, and The Edge invite you to watch a special event at the California Theatre in San Jose, CA.” Bono and The Edge performed “Vertigo” and another new song from their upcoming album “How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” due November 23.

Apple launches iPod Store

  • October 26, 2004
  • Apple,

MacMinute reports that yet another sign that the iPod is quickly becoming the main focus at Apple, the company has launched the online iPod Store. Similar in design as the online Apple Store, the dedicated iPod Store features the iPod family (iPod, iPod mini, iPod Photo, U2 iPod), iPod accessories, iPod Top Sellers, shopping guides (car, home, Mac or PC, on the go), and much more.

Apple announces special music event with U2

  • October 18, 2004
  • Apple,

MacMinute reports that Apple has sent out an invitation to select media announcing a special event to be held next week at San Jose’s California Theater. The event appears to be music related as the invite reads: “Steve Jobs, Bono and The Edge invite you to a special event.” Bono and The Edge are of course members of the popular rock band U2, who are featured in Apple’s latest iPod+iTunes commercial performing their new single “Vertigo.” The song is also available exclusively through Apple’s iTunes Music Store. During Apple’s fourth quarter conference call last week, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said that Apple and U2 would be working together more “in the coming weeks.”

Apple announces “mini” retail stores

  • October 14, 2004
  • Apple,
“Apple today unveiled its new “mini” retail store, a stunning all-new design featuring stainless steel walls and seamless white floors and ceilings. The mini store is half the size of Apple’s smallest store to date, which will allow it to be placed in a variety of new locations to introduce Apple’s innovative products to even more customers. Apple will open its first six mini stores this Saturday at 10 a.m. in Palo Alto, CA; San Jose, CA; Santa Rosa, CA; Tukwila, WA; Bridgewater, NJ; and Rockaway, NJ.”

Apple ships over 2 million iPods

  • October 13, 2004
  • Apple,

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2004 fourth quarter ended September 25, 2004. Apple shipped 2,016,000 iPods during the quarter, representing a 500 percent increase in iPods over the year-ago quarter. Apples’ Q4 financial conference call with financial analysts and press also mentioned several iPod and iTunes related highlights. (Source MacMinute.com)

  • Music based revenue grew 370%
  • 2,016,000 iPods shipped, up 500% ($537 million)
  • $98 million from iTunes Music Store and other iPod-related services/gear
  • HP-branded iPod accounted for 6% of all iPods sold
  • More European stores coming this month

Steve Jobs concentrates on the “really important” creations

  • October 12, 2004
  • Apple,

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs was interviewed by BusinessWeek on the subject of innovation. Many companies have tightened their belts and cutback R&D, but not Apple, it forges ahead.

Q: With the iPod, Apple moved beyond the PC into consumer electronics. But you’re still considered a niche player that picks its spots in bigger markets. Will you try to expand to become a more full-line player, like a Sony or Samsung?
A: The fact that you’re comparing us to Sony is a statement in itself. I’m flattered. We really respect those guys and what they’ve accomplished over the years. But we’re just trying to make great products. We do things where we feel we can make a significant contribution. That’s one of my other beliefs.”

“Gapless Playback for Apple iPod” online petition

  • September 8, 2004
  • Apple,

iPod user Michael Barca has started a “Gapless Playback for Apple iPod” online petition. Gapless playback has been heavily discussed within our own forums and Michael hopes that Apple will take notice. Gapless playback is the playback of long songs or DJ mixes in a continuous stream without audible gaps.

“We, the undersigned, are requesting that gapless playback be integrated into the iPod via a firmware upgrade in the near future.

We want to show you, Apple, that there exists a large amount of iPod owners and possible future iPod owners, who desperately want this to be supported in iPod.

Perhaps you don’t realize how important this is to iPod owners, but by this petition we hope to show you how essential this feature is to any digital audio player.”

Hacker cracks Apple’s wireless music streaming technology

“The Norwegian hacker famed for developing DVD encryption-cracking software has apparently struck again—this time breaking the locks on Apple Computer Inc.‘s wireless music streaming technology.

Jon Lech Johansen released on his Web site—defiantly named “So Sue Me”—a software key that helps to unlock the encryption Apple uses for its AirPort Express, a device that lets users broadcast digital music from Apple’s online iTunes Music Store on a stereo that’s not plugged into a computer.

Some security consultants say that with the key and another program he released, Johansen, also known as DVD Jon, has helped pave the way for other software applications other than Apple iTunes to work with AirPort Express.”

The real reason Apple’s mad about Harmony hack

John C. Dvorak for CBS MarketWatch explains that RealNetwork’s recent iPod song compatibility hack for its Harmony jukebox software is screwing up Apple’s plan to put iPod technology into Motorola cell phones.

“This grand scheme only works if the platform is secure. You can’t sell an iPod phone and lock in all this easy money if people can buy from just anyone or just use bootleg music, can you? So along comes the RealNetworks hack, which screws up this scheme. Suddenly the iPod looks a lot like any other MP3 player except for its good looks, and those go away when it’s in the phone.

This explains why Steve Jobs and Apple wouldn’t let RealNetworks license any of its technology when asked last April. You can be certain that the Apple-Motorola scheme hatched before that and probably right after Ed Zander, Jobs’ friend, took over Motorola in January. With this scheme they had to keep the iPod locked down and that meant no licenses for interlopers and potential competitors.”

Get Well Steve

MacMinute is reporting that Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs is hospitalized and recovering from successful surgery for pancreatic cancer. Using a PowerBook to e-mail from his hospital bed, Jobs wrote to tell Apple employees that, “I had a very rare form of pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which represents about 1 percent of the total cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed each year, and can be cured by surgical removal if diagnosed in time (mine was). I will not require any chemotherapy or radiation treatments.” Jobs will return to his Cupertino office in September, presumably after the Apple Expo in Paris.

iLounge wishes Steve the speediest and fullest of recoveries, and invites our readers to leave a “get well” message for Steve in this comments thread, which we will forward to Apple. (Negative messages will be deleted and their posters banned; please use good judgment in leaving messages for a man recovering from cancer.)

Apple upset over Fuse silhouette ads

“Apple Computer is outraged over new advertisements by upstart music channel Fuse that resemble ads for the iPod, Apple’s popular digital music player, The Post has learned.

Apple lawyers have been calling Fuse and threatening to sue unless the ads

Apple: 860,000 more iPods in Q3, new iPods soon?

Apple today announced financial results and sales statistics for its fiscal 2004 third quarter ended June 26, 2004. Of interest to iPod lovers: 860,000 iPods were shipped during the quarter, representing a 183 percent increase in iPods over the same quarter last year. By comparison, Apple shipped 876,000 Macintosh units, representing a 14 percent increase in CPU units.

For the quarter, the Company posted a net profit of $61 million, or $.16 per diluted share. These results compare to a net profit of $19 million, or $.05 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter was $2.014 billion, up 30 percent from the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 27.8 percent, up from 27.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 39 percent of the quarter

Apple posts new iTunes + iPod video

During Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference Keynote on Monday, Steve Jobs introduced a new promotional video touting the success of iTunes and iPod. The iPod, iPod mini, musicians, music video snippets, Airport Express, Airtunes and the recent BMW iPod integration are featured.

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