Thursday, September 11, 2008

Did Apple Steal The iPod?

Apple has admitted it did not invent the iPod. It was in fact the brainchild of a British man who patented his prototype 30 years ago.

The inventor, 52-year-old Mr Kane Kramer, took out a worldwide patent in 1979 for a media player that looked similar to the iPod but could store only 3.5 minutes of music. He named the devide the "IXI" and was hoping to expand its capacity as the available technology advanced.

Unfortunately, Mr Kramer ran out of funds in 1988, and was unable to put come up with the £60,000 needed to renew the patent. That meant his idea fell into the public domain, and Mr Kramer was therefore not entitled to receive any money or recognition from those who used his design.

The revelations came to light after patent holding company Burst sued Apple, claiming the iPod infringed on its patents.

Apple flew Kramer, now a relatively poor furniture salesman, to the US to give evidence in its defence and used his original 1979 drawings of the IXI as evidence that Kramer, in fact, was the iPod's inventor.

The original iPod was unveiled in October 2001 and, since then, 163 million have been sold, bringing in billions of dollars in revenue for Apple.

According to Mr Kramer, "I was up a ladder painting when I got the call from a lady with an American accent from Apple saying she was the head of legal affairs and that they wanted to acknowledge the work that I had done. I must admit that at first I thought it was a wind-up by friends. But we spoke for some time, with me still up this ladder slightly bewildered by it all, and she said Apple would like me to come to California to talk to them."

After Mr Kramer was questioned by Burst's lawyers for 10 hours, the dispute was eventually settled out of court.

Mr Kramer, who recently closed down his struggling furniture design business, is now negotiating with Apple to receive compensation for the company's use of his drawings. So far he has only been paid a fee by Apple for consultancy work related to the legal case.

Mr Kramer said "I can't even bring myself to buy an iPod for myself. Apple did give me one but it broke down after eight months."


Anonymous said...

Not very ethical lah.

Anonymous said...

Truth or not is one thing people. It happens everywhere, when you are popular, people defame you, they want a piece of you and do everything they can. of course i'm not saying this article is true/false. But then again, we don't know, we only read and see, the weaker ones choose to believe. Truth you say ? We don't know. One may argue the article said "Apple admitted", then again, where's the truth that apple admitted. Just want to reinforce this point to all the readers.

Anonymous said...

The author of this article does have the facts straight. Apple made a press announcement here in the US stating that they did not invent the design of the iPod. Of course, don't believe everything you read, but the author here does speak the truth. Just want to reinforce this point.