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August 22, 2005

iPod Patents

You’d think that Apple’s iPod, the catalyst to a new generation of music consumers and a boon for the come-back computer maker, has a big lead. You’d think it’s Apple that’s run the Preempt. But not so fast. In August 2005, the U.S. Patent Office ruled that Apple’s bitter rival, Microsoft, is the rightful holder to a user interface patent for the handheld digital music player – the technical equivalent of iPod’s core technology. It seems that a lone Microsoft engineer filed the patent application five months ahead of Apple’s ambitious iPod team’s submission. It is a massive lapse that exposes Apple to royalty payments to Microsoft of as much as $10 for every one of its 21 million iPod’s sold to date.