Apple Credit UK Man With Initial iPod Idea

We're used to hearing claims from disappointed (and generally poor) people that they invented the iPod, but Apple have partially made one UK man's day by crediting him as author of some of the original patents that outlined how today's PMPs work.  Kane Kramer sketched out a rudimentary media player back in 1979, but financial difficulties in 1988 meant he couldn't renew the patent and it entered the public domain.  Apple then used the concept as evidence in their legal case against Burst.com, who were accusing the company of patent infringement and looking for a slice of the iPod profits.

Called the IXI, Kramer's PMP was designed to store a whole 3.5 minutes of audio (though with the usual patent provisos that increases would come with advancing technology) and bears a little resemblance to what eventually became the iPod.  The inventor spent ten hours being questioned by Burst's legal team, who had claimed that the intellectual property of four patents they held was being used by Apple without agreement or payment.

"To be honest, I was just so pleased that finally something that I had done which has been a huge success and changed the music industry was being acknowledged. I was really quite emotional about it all" Kane Kramer

Kramer is now looking to negotiate some degree of compensation from Apple for their use of the drawings.  He was paid a consultancy fee for his part in the lawsuit, which ended with an unpublicized out-of-court settlement.

Ironically, Apple did give Kramer a free iPod (no word on which type, but presumably capable of holding more than a single track) but it apparently broke after eight months.