updated 02:35 pm EST, Fri February 23, 2007
Apple endangered by ruling
[digg this] Microsoft on Thursday was ordered to pay more than $1.5 billion in damages to Alcatel-Lucent for violating two MP3 patents with its Windows operating system, which could lead to similar lawsuits and future royalty payments by other companies such as Apple, Yahoo!, and Dell. A federal jury in San Diego found that Microsoft violated MP3 patents held by Lucent, despite the Redmond-based company's claims that during the trial it used unrelated technologies and that the Lucent patents were invalid. Separate developer groups have claimed ownership of related MP3 patents, causing confusion and chaos in the licensing of the MP3 format, according to Electronista. The verdict of Microsoft's case, however, could affect a number of companies that believe they have already licensed related patents for the decoding and encoding of MP3 files.