Microsoft Embroiled in MP3 Patent Debate

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has been embroiled in legal troubles countless times in the past. Last year they were on the butt-end of a class-action lawsuit filed after a collective of consumers became enraged with the company's invasive Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA). Eventually, the company toned down its piracy policy, relegating WGA to second tier news. However, Microsoft is again on the wrong end of court proceedings, with a federal jury finding that it owes $1.5 billion for MP3 patent infringement.

Alcatel-Lucent, a global communications giant with interests in everything from broadband to VOIP to submarine systems, is the lucky recipient of the $1.5 billion payoff. (Source:

The suit is related to MP3 audio technology used in the Windows operating system, and the massive damages owed by Microsoft stem from the sale of PCs dating back to the year 2003.

According to Alcatel-Lucent, Microsoft failed to obtain licensing agreements before using the MP3 technology. However, MS has claimed that it did indeed pursue this, pledging $16 million to tech company Frauhofer. That firm was behind the development of audio compression tools, and has in the past licensed its intellectual property to companies like Microsoft. Other tech big hitters have done similar, including Apple and Texas Instruments.

That's why Microsoft spokesperson Tom Burt is especially angry. He pledges that the company will further investigate the decision, and will almost certainly appeal.

Despite MS' disapproval, the court's decision could mean similar suits from Alcatel-Lucent as the company seeks royalties for other, similar cases.

Legal experts are calling the payoff size a result of Microsoft's own hulking value. That could provide even greater reason for the software giant to seek a reevaluation of this most recent ruling. (Source:

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet