Today in tech history December 6th

Quicktime Saves Apple’s Bacon

quicktime made Apple a future powerhouse

Today in tech history, Apple sews the seeds to sue the crap out of Microsoft, Intel, and a “little guy” caught in the middle. Why dyou ask? Well, back in 1994, you couldn’t just stream video in your browser. You needed a player, much like a virtual DVD player that lived on your computer. I remember watching 4 seasons of Lost on my laptop via Quicktime. Back then, Apple had the best video player on any device. Back then, just like today, more people are Windows users than Apple. Most people did not drink the “Kool-Aid.” Whomever figured out how to deliver video to the end user (sound familiar) was going to make a lot of money. Apple had to get on Windows computers.

In 1992, Apple hired Canyon Company, a San Francisco based company to help them develop their video technologies to work for Windows. Unbeknownst to Apple, one year later, Microsoft in partnership with Intel, hires Canyon Company to develop a video player for Windows. Should Apple have chalked this up to good old 21st Century Coincidence? Yeah right. In 1993 Apple sued Canyon Company. What I am sure would be characterized as gentlemenly squeezing, Apple was able to expand the Lawsuit in 1995 to include Intel and Microsoft. It turns out that, Intel and Microsoft. knowlingly used the source code originally created for Apple. 

This lawsuit some say, which was settled in 1997, is what saved Apple and made the iPod, iPhone, and the whole mobile tech boom a reality. In today’s political climate, our government wants China to change its laws to prevent the theft of American intellectual property. While I think that is a great idea, by the time the public, (us) learns about China’s trade policies, all of the best stuff was already stolen between American tech corporations. To quote Steve Jobs and a million other people who said this first: “Good artists copy; great artists steal.”

Links

 United States v. Microsoft Corp. 

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