For those of you who are Apple aficionados, you might want to pull out the violin for your company. Tech forums are chortling over the thought of Steve Jobs having to pay a royalty to Clever Billy for every iPod sold. Apple's in a controlled panic; the iPod accounts for a whopping 1/3 of sales revenue (The Examiner, August 17, 2005). And let's please not forget the charming statistical fact that one in ten people in the nation have got the telltale white earbuds leaking from their heads to their pockets.
Apple won't be going down without a fight, though. Insisting they've still got some cards to play, their lawyer posits that they can have the patent office put in an investigation for who invented the iPod bits first. That's well and good, but these types of races are lost by many a well-meaning - but slow to patent - inventor in everyday life. Sorry, Apple, but even if you wiggle out of this one (iPod's "legal" owner won't be clear until maybe 6 months from now), you've still got a low grade in the school of hard-knocks.
While Apple refused to comment on why it took them so bloody long to apply for a patent, Microsoft felt it necessary to cite that they have a perfectly liberal policy when it comes to licensing patents to other companies.
KO. Until things are clearer, anyway.