Apple's threat of legal action over a RealNetworks iPod "hack" is entirely justified, market analysts say.

Last week Apple issued a statement in response to RealNetworks Harmony technology, which will enable consumers to transfer secure digital music between devices – including iPods, threatening that company with legal action and accusing the company of hacking Apple's technology.

CBS MarketWatch: suggests that being able to offer a completely secure platform is much more important to Apple than being able to sell a few extra iPods. "It's about a scheme afoot to monopolize music delivered to cell phones. This grand scheme works only 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. The Recording Industry Association of America music moguls and the phone moguls just see that it's been hacked and that can't be good. They're freaky that way."

But Apple did anticipate such a thing could happen, according to the Independent's Charles Arthur.

Arthur writes: "In an interview last year with Rolling Stone Apple CEO Steve Jobs, said he had told the record companies, who were convinced DRM was the way forward: "None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have PhDs here, that know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content. It only takes one person to pick a lock. Pick one [digital] lock - open every door."

"Real has picked that lock," concludes the Independent report.