Overnight, Apple found itself in a both frustrating and dangerous situation. Everything started when the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office rejected Apple's request to patent the iPod interface, on account of a similar situation submitted by a Microsoft researcher five months earlier.
AppleInsider was the first to detail this problem, which could give Apple serious headaches, should Microsoft decide
to play rough.
Apple is still able to contest the decision, but if it doesn't succeed to patent the interface used by iPod, the Cupertino company might find itself in the strange situation of having to pay Microsoft royalties.
So far, Apple doesn't seem concern that this will happen and a company spokesperson said that the company own many patents for the innovations brought by iPod.
Microsoft could take advantage of this opportunity, especially since iPod is responsible for the increase in Mac sales.
Currently, the statements made by David Kaefer, Business Development Director for Microsoft's intellectual property and licensing division, are balanced and Kaefer admitted that both companies rely on their own ideas to achieve success.
One of Microsoft's officials admitted though that the Redmond company and other producers, like Samsung, Philips and Creative, will form an alliance whose purpose will be the production of MP3 Players that are able to rival with iPod.