Intel bags $120m patent hoard from RealNetworks
190 patents, 170 applications, and 'next-generation' video codec
In the latest maneuver of the tech industry's ongoing patent wars, Intel has struck a $120m deal with RealNetworks to purchase 190 patents and 170 patent applications, along with what both companies define as "next-generation video codec software".
"Selling these patents to Intel unlocks some of the substantial and unrealized value of RealNetworks assets," said RealNetworks president and CEO Thomas Nielsen in a statement announcing the sale.
Neilsen also noted that the next-gen video codec part of the deal includes the engineers working on that software.
The general manager of Intel's Software and Services Group, Renée James, expressed Chipzilla's high regard for the purchase. "The acquisition of these foundational media patents, additional patents and video codec software expands Intel's diverse and extensive portfolio of intellectual property," she said.
Under the terms of the deal, RealNetworks will retain "certain rights" to use the patents and patent applications in both current and future products, but the company did not elaborate on exactly what those rights might be.
RealNetworks has also inked a deal to collaborate with Intel on future products. "We look forward to working with Intel to support the development of the next-generation video codec software," said Nielsen, "and to expanding our relationship into new products and markets.
From where we sit, the deal looks like a win-win for the two companies. Intel beefs up its patent portfolio in the exploding media-streaming market, and RealNetWorks gets a chunk of change it can use, as Nielsen explains, "to boost investments in new businesses and markets while still protecting our existing business."
And, of course, Intel's legal team gets the opportunity to pore over those patents and see which ones it might use to toss roadblocks in the way of its competitors. ®
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A great purchase I'm sure. Because when you hear the name "RealNetworks" the first thing you think of is "next-gen video codec" rather than "late 90's also-ran."</sarcasm>
Looks like they're pulling a Kodak
Sell off all your core businesses that make a lot of money, then go bankrupt and blame it on everyone else.
"I find real Player to be a better player than Windows Media Player"
So is an Etch A Sketch.
On the contrary, I've installed Real Player on Mac and Win7 this year and there's no nagging. It also has a nice Flash video downloader built in.
I find real Player to be a better player than Windows Media Player.
Real almost certainly has been working on the H.265 code to prepare for being one of the first to market with a version of H.265 that can actually run relatively well on x86. Don't forget that while Real's player software was a nightmare, the codecs themselves were generally standard compliant implementations of H.264 for the past few years.
If Intel intends to support H.262 (mpeg-2), H.264 (AVC) AND H.265 (HEVC) they'll need a bigger codec development team than they currently employ. Getting your hands on the people making a production grade H.265 decoder (to start with) and a production grade H.265 encoder makes a huge amount of sense for a company like Intel. They need all the help they can get preparing for H.265 in hardware since the complexity of that codec has reached the point that implementation in an ASIC may actually no be possible at this time. The logical complexity of the algorithm has grown past pure hardware modeling, but much of it can likely be done in software, so we'll see.