Feeds

TiVo wields patent club against Microsoft

Are Linux users supposed to do this?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Silicon Valley executives are often urged to fill those precious moments between the Stairmaster and the early coronary by reading ancient war manuals. We're not sure if any of these contains the advice: "pick your fights carefully", but if they do, TiVo doesn't seem to have reached this page yet.

The company, which pioneered the "Digital VCR", is positively spoiling for a fight with Microsoft...and anyone else who wants to make boxes which decode TV streams, and play them back.

TiVo was granted a patent for a "multimedia time warping system" ten days ago. It has already started brandishing it as a threat against Microsoft's rebranded WebTV flop, UltimateTV and, possibly, future versions of Microsoft's Xbox games console.

"We're going to recommend (Microsoft) examine the patent and see if it does ... so we could work out a licensing deal," TiVo's CTO, Jim Barton, said yesterday.

The sprawling patent - it actually covers 61 separate claims and is available for persusal here - describes TiVo's system of recording live TV streams to a PC with a hard disk. That's all the box is really, underneath the hood.

But so extensive is the filing granted to TiVO, it's difficult to imagine anyone making a digital VCR which doesn't infringe the patent in some way. It's rather like filing a claim for a "motor vehicle" with "wheels", "transmission" and an "engine". Pretty tough to work around, if you want to make a car.

It's likely that ReplayTV, TiVo's erstwhile rival, is also a target. Replay has had some success after it ditched a horizontal sales model, which involved competing head-on with TiVo, for a vertical one, which involves licensing the software to TV OEMs.

An interesting aside to all this is that TiVo opted for Linux as the operating system for its box. Linux's success is of course attributable largely to the absence of, or at least the early resolution of proprietary intellectual property claims. So it's very strange to see TiVo wielding the patent club, isn't it? ®

Related Stories

MS takes X-box to digital VCR market
TiVo rival axes box, loses head
TiVo not flopped - people 'intend' to buy

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
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
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.