Apple is suing Sorenson Media, a company that makes a compression codec used Apple’s QuickTime product, to block it from licensing similar software to Macromedia. The lawsuit was filed last Friday in federal court in San Jose, California.
Apple said it paid Sorenson US$4.5 million for the rights to use the privately held company’s compression software in QuickTime, which allows users to watch movies on personal computers, according to
According to the lawsuit, Sorenson breached a contract that prohibits it from “developing, marketing, or licensing” any version of the compression software used in QuickTime to competitors such as Macromedia. By licensing its technology to Macromedia for a competing product, Sorenson has “intentionally disrupted the economic advantage that Apple expected to gain from its exclusive rights under the Agreement,” Apple said. The Macromedia licensing was announced on March 4.
“We are greatly surprised by the presumptive filing of this suit without prior discussions or understandings between the parties,” said Jim Sorenson, CEO of Sorenson Media. “We are reasonable, and as is usual practice, we are always willing to discuss and work to resolve issues. In the meantime, we remain focused on executing our overall corporate and product strategy and doing what we feel is best for our customers.”
Ed McGarr, Sorenson’s vice president of sales and marketing, told Bloomberg.com that the compression software Macromedia uses in its Flash Player is different from the one Apple uses in QuickTime. He added that the suit has no merit and hopes the companies can resolve the dispute out of court.
Though interactive video is one of the most “visible” features of Macromedia’s new Flash MX (and the accompanying Flash Player), the company doesn’t see the enhanced video ability making Flash MX a competitor with QuickTime. Jeremy Clark, Flash product manager, told MacCentral in early March that there’s s a key difference in that all of those media companies are focused on providing scalable solutions for linear video and also trying to sell servers that go along with their video product.
“That is where they make their money,” Clark said. “Our focus with Macromedia Flash MX is allowing people to add video capabilities to the already existing Macromedia Flash interactive capabilities. Also, to differentiate further, you can view video in Flash immersive in one client as opposed to launching external media clients. “
An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment on this story.