I keep waiting for another shoe to drop since Apple announced a move from the IBM Chip Ship to the latest Intel Roadmap.
What’s new and news on the Apple horizon? Deafening silence? A Mighty Mouse? Hacked versions of Mac OS X? Apple getting an iPod license from Microsoft? It’s all part of the Official Summer Waiting Game.
Mighty Mouse? I’ve seen it. Haven’t bought it. Yet. It’s a 10 day wait at the online Apple Store. I’ve not talked with anyone who owns a Mighty Mouse. No news there.
Mac OS X has been hacked to run on vanilla Intel-based PCs. Dell, Sony, others. What’s next? Mac OS X on a PocketPC?
Even without much news during the Dog Days of Summer, Apple continues to move Macs and iPods out the door in record numbers. Millions of dollars were spent on a new “switch” advertising campaign to take advantage of the iPod “halo effect.”
The long-awaited advertising campaign is designed to tell iPod users that the same joy they derive from an iPod is also available in a Mac and OS X Tiger. The only news is that Think Secret says the ad campaign has been scrapped, scuttled, dropped, nixed.
Why would Apple go to the trouble to produce an expensive advertising campaign and the drop it at the last minute?
Two words. “Bill Gates.”
What does Bill Gates have to do with the iPod “halo effect” and sales of Macs and a new “switch” advertising campaign? Would Apple stop a controversial and expensive campaign just because Bill Gates demands? It’s plausible. Here’s why.
Apple all but owns the legal music download business with iTunes Music Store. iTunes is the most popular music player, Mac or Windows. Apple’s iPod all but owns the portable music player market; flash or hard drive (Korean market notwithstanding).
Microsoft, Microsoft’s Music Store, and the twenty-seven-eleven music players that play Bill Gate’s WMV format are left in the marketing share dust.
So what’s wrong?
Apple applied for a patent for the unique scroll wheel and playlist interface that make the iPod so cool (released in 2001, by the way). There’s nothing like that iPod interface anywhere on the market. Apple designed it, built it, shipped, supports it.
The buying public loves the iPod. Apple owns the iPod interface. Right? They do own it, right?
So what’s wrong?
The US Patent & Trademark Office denied Apple’s patent application. Why? Microsoft already filed a similar application five months earlier than Apple’s application. Who owns the patent on Apple’s unique iPod interface? Steve Jobs? Apple Computer?
Bloomberg News is reporting that Apple’s patent application was rejected because Microsoft got there first. It appears that Apple got beat by Microsoft for a patent that makes the iPod so cool.
“Somehow I get the feeling that it will be a cold day in Redmond, WA (or ‘h-e-l-l,’ you choose) before Steve Jobs pays any money to Bill Gates for a patent on the iPod.”I’ll excuse you for a moment while you sit back from the screen, take a deep breath, and swallow hard. Is your mouth dry? Mine, too. “This isn’t good news, is it?” said General Custer as he counted the fifty gazillion Indians headed his way.
Let me get this straight. Apple invents the iPod (or, assembles it), ships the iPod, makes the iPod a success, and Microsoft got there first with a patent on the iPod interface? Where’s my freakin’ blood pressure medicine, honey!!
Computer media pundit and phrase clown, Rob Enderle, says, ““It’s incredibly embarrassing. “That just makes it look like someone at Apple wasn’t on the ball in terms of filing the patent at the right time.” Duh.
What’s Apple have to say about all this? Bloomberg reports, “Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the Microsoft patent application cited by the examiner was filed,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said today in an e-mailed statement. The company has received other patents related to the iPod and has other patents pending on the device, she said.”
Oh, well. That explains it. I feel better. Not.
The news report goes on to say, “Microsoft’s patent application describes playlist software used to manage music on MP3 players, personal computers and other digital devices. Apple’s application covers, step by step, how users navigate through its iPod music software and how they use the device to select songs.”
To be fair, the news report also says, “Apple’s application, filed a year after the iPod was introduced, was rejected July 13. The documents don’t identify the iPod by name, a common omission in such petitions. It describes a “portable, pocket-sized multimedia asset player” capable of managing MP3 music files including “a song title, a song artist, a song album, a song length.”
That sounds like an iPod to me.
Apple plans to appeal the patent rejection and the process could drag on for another six months to 18 months or more. A non-patent alternative would be for Apple to take the issue to federal court, or the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. That could overturn the Patent Office’s rejection. Or not.
Somehow I get the feeling that it will be a cold day in Redmond, WA (or ‘h-e-l-l,’ you choose) before Steve Jobs pays any money to Bill Gates for a patent on the iPod.
It’s still the Dog Days of Summer for news. This is one news item that won’t see an end for many months.