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Apple pushes Mobile QuickTime bundle, delays release of 6.0

Attacks MPEG 4 terms

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Apple Computer Inc has announced plans to bundle up a package of software and services, to sell packages of streaming media software and systems to wireless operators.

The company has formed a partnership with mobile handset and systems vendor LM Ericsson Telefon AB and server vendor Sun Microsystems Inc. Apple will supply the QuickTime streaming media server software, and probably streaming media clients to handheld devices and mobile terminals.

According to a company spokesperson, Ericsson will take the lead in any contracts, doing the integration of the software and servers into mobile networks, which will be bundled under the name the Ericsson Content Delivery Solution. Ericsson is unsure about when it plans to make the first sales to wireless operators, because although video streaming is considered a key service, it only really makes commercial sense when the bandwidth is delivered by 3G mobile systems.

Separately, Cupertino, California-based Apple has released the latest version of its QuickTime Streaming Server 4, which is the first product to support digital compression and presentation standard MPEG-4. The company has frozen distribution of the latest version of its QuickTime client software QuickTime 6.0, claiming that the licensing terms for MPEG-4 are unreasonable.

The company claims that a plan by some of the MPEG technology providers, the MPEG-LA, to include both client and per use royalties for MPEG-4 usage is unreasonable.

Although the company accepts that small royalties should be paid for every MPEG-4 client, Apple does not believe that content distributors should be forced to pay royalties every time they deliver a media stream. Apple said it will not distribute the completed QuickTime 6.0 client until the licensing terms have been changed. Apple claims that QuickTime is now the leading streaming media client, adding 80 million new users in 2001.

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