Feeds

Apple caves in over FireWire licensing

Mac maker to share IEEE1394 patent rights

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.