Report: Sony and Philips considering suing Microsoft over Windows Media Player patent infringement?

“If you were Sony or Philips and you found that Microsoft had been not just using technology that you invented to invade your markets, but had been giving it away, would you want to sue or negotiate? That appears to be the decision that confronts these and other Consumer Electronics giants, as they weigh up the information that the video codec in Microsoft’s Windows Media player rests on their own patents,” Faultline reports.
“If there is a legal action this time it will set the entire US trade effort at the throats of the rest of the world, chilling US-Japanese trade relations and potentially leading to Microsoft being unceremoniously ejected from the world of digital media,” Faultline reports. “Faultline has consistently pointed out that the bundling of Media Player, in order to force it as a standard, first on the PC world and subsequently the consumer electronics sector, was always in breach of the principles of antitrust law. But if it turns out that the bulk of the technology is stolen and not even attributed to its owners, then the crime goes up in magnitude by several notches… It’s not for us to decide whether Microsoft invented any of these techniques first, or whether Philips and Sony will actually file suits, but making the assumption, for now, that both of these events come to pass, we can look at how the future of digital media might pan out.”

Full article here.

[UPDATE: 5:55pm ET – fixed headline typo]


  1. Well Microsoft wants to rule/own the medium by which we communicate— nothing new here. That Microsft steals other people’s ideas to create,reinforce and expand it’s monopoly pratices—nothing new here.
    Ahh you have attempted to steal from old money, now that could get you into deep water. Third strike you’re out. May Microsoft (and Bill personally) be garroted ASAP.

  2. If either of these companies had any evidence that this was going on, I hardly think they would waste any time considering. Once they are aware of an issue, they have to protect their intellectual property or they could lose it.

    It does sound like Faultline is a bit biased (much like MDN) so the information has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    I would love M$ to be sued big time, but I’m not too sure this info is kosher.

  3. misleading headline. Suggests that Sony and Phillips are suing Microsoft. Doubtful that they would. It’d be a lot cheaper and smarter to let MS license whatever they’ve appropriated, if indeed they’ve taken anything. Why spend millions duking it out in court when could earn just as much from royalties?

  4. I’d think Sony would really look at this. I mean, Sony would love to stick it to Microsoft. Forget about the royalties, make Microsoft kill Media Player and Sony would do us all a favor.

    PS2 Vs. XBox, ATRAC Vs. WMA, I think Sony would like to embarrass MS.

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