As MacCentral reported yesterday, 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. We’ve talked to Sorenson to get their thoughts on the issue.
Apple said it paid Sorenson US$4.5 million for the rights to use the privately held company’s compression software in QuickTime. 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.
Ed McGarr, Sorenson’s vice president of sales and marketing, told MacCentral that the compression software Macromedia uses in its Flash Player is different from the one Apple uses in QuickTime.
“They’re similar in that both are video codec technologies,” he said. “But they’re very different codecs. To simplify matters, the one that we’ve done with Macromedia is based on videoconferencing standards. The one we’ve done for Apple is a proprietary codec that offers the highest quality of any codec on the market today.”
McGarr said that Sorenson was surprised when Apple filed the lawsuit. Generally, if there’s a dispute over a contract there’s a “cooling off period” in which both parties sit down to reason together. Lawsuits come when an impasse has been reached, and that’s not the case with Sorenson and Apple, McGarr said. It’s not good for either company if this thing goes to court, he added.
“Actually, we really love Apple, they’ve been a phenomenal partner,” McGarr told MacCentral. “They’ve given us wonderful opportunities — and we’ve given them wonderful opportunities to make QuickTime the best video architecture on the market. We think we can settle our disagreements in an amicable way and continue our great relationship going forward. That’s our desire, and we believe that’s Apple’s desire.”