Feeds

Apple caves in over FireWire licensing

Mac maker to share IEEE1394 patent rights

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Apple has bowed to pressure from the computer and consumer electronics industries, and changed its royalty system for the IEEE1394 digital interface system, also known as FireWire. The company today announced it was forming a 'patent pool' with key FireWire licensees Compaq, Sony, Matsushita/Panasonic, Philips and Toshiba. Together, the six companies will develop and implement a collective licensing programme. In effect, the move takes Apple's FireWire intellectual property and shares it out among the six companies, though whether they each have an equal share isn't known. The announcement follows the widespread criticism targeted at Apple earlier this year when it emerged the company was charging newer licensees a $1-a-port royalty (see Apple caught charging crafty FireWire fee). Numerous PC manufacturers and peripheral vendors claimed the company was unjustified in seeking a royalty for FireWire, since, as IEEE1394, it was an open standard. In fact, as The Register pointed out, IEEE regulations permit IP owners to charge a royalty for the use of that IP even though it may be part of an IEEE standard. However, there remained the issue of whether Apple's royalty was too high and might limit the take-up of FireWire as the next peripheral interconnect standard. At the time, Apple said all royalties were open to negotiation and so would not inhibit the acceptance of the standard. However, the patent pooling move suggests that the Sony, Compaq and co. felt the reverse would be true. Most of the companies in the pool long ago paid an up-front $7500 charge for unlimited access to Apple's FireWire IP. Today's deal shows Apple has accepted its patent pool partners' viewpoint and sends out the message that FireWire is no longer in the hands of a single company. Still, it does represent a significant loss of face for Apple, though ultimately it will gain from the deal through the (hopefully) aggressive adoption of FireWire that its partners are now boasting will take place. ® See also Anti-Apple FireWire firms propose alternative spec Apple's FireWire licensing -- the debate rages

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.