Creative has never had much success in its attempts
to dislodge Apple’s top spot in the MP3 player market in spite of an extensive
line-up and decent quality products. However, a recent patent award has put a
smile back on the face of the long-suffering underdog as it was acknowledged
that Creative has claim to a patent covering the track selection interface
pioneered in its early Nomad Jukebox MP3 players. This interface involves
selection of music from a branching list beginning with artists then albums and
finally the individual tracks: all in all exactly how you would expect to
select music and a method that Apple has been employing in it’s iPods since their launch in 2001.
It will be interesting to see how Creative plans to use the ‘Zen Patent’, but
one possibility is that Apple may need to pay royalities to Creative for use of
the patented system. What with this and the similar Microsoft patent conflict,
Apple has had a bit of tough month.