And Your Bird Can Sing (4/19/99)
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You can't win 'em all, and neither can Apple. A California state appeals court ruled last week that in the astoundingly long dispute between Apple Computer and Apple Corps (the company founded by the Beatles to distribute their music-- does anyone else remember the halved green apples on the labels of many of John Lennon's records? Uh, does anyone else remember records?), not only is Apple liable to pony up $35 million for using the Apple name, but they also can't just stick their insurance companies with the bill. A San Jose Mercury News article has the grisly details.

See, it was almost ten years ago that Apple (our Apple) finally agreed to pay the other Apple thirty-five million dollars for the right to use the Apple trademark. Originally, Apple Corps was cool with Apple Computer sharing the trademark, provided that Apple (again, our Apple-- this is harder than it looks) stayed in the computer business and kept away from the music and recording industries. Unfortunately, eventually Macs turned into some great little musicmakers, and Apple Corps took that to be a breach of contract. But when the 1990 agreement was hammered out, it looked like Apple could just tell its insurance companies to foot the bill; last Friday's ruling changes that, and it looks like there might be a $35 million one-time charge in Apple's quarterly results sometime in the future. Apple plans to appeal the ruling, taking the case to the California Supreme Court, so the twenty-year battle continues; it ain't over until the Japanese conceptual artist, er, sings.

Personally, we're just fine with Apple losing a $35 million court case-- we're hoping the Trial Gods are taking note, so that they'll be more inclined to smile upon our poor court-bound heroes when the real money's on the line. Specifically, we're talking about that billion-dollar-lawsuit hanging over Apple's collective head like the Sword of Damocles. Or like a big stone bowling ball about to konk Fred Flintstone on the head so hard Barney won't be able to revive him in time to win the lodge tournament. (Take your pick of similes, we're flexible.) When this whole Imatec/ColorSync thing goes to court, we're hoping that Apple's trial karma weighs heavily in their favor, because nothing would put a damper on the comeback festivities like having to cut a check with eleven zeroes to some guy angling for a handout.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 4/19/99 episode:

April 19, 1999: QuickTime 4 is here-- sort of-- and it's pretty cool, rough edges and all. Meanwhile, Best Buy continues its stubborn refusal to stock iMacs if they have to stock all five flavors, and Apple gets slapped with a $35 million charge, payable to the Beatles' Apple Corps, for the use of the Apple trademark...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1473: Beta or Not... (4/19/99)   ...Here we come. It was a four-press-release day for Apple, as they stormed NAB with 1) Final Cut Pro, a new $999 video editing application that aims higher than Premiere; 2) the QuickTime 4 public beta, which is now available for download; 3) the new open-source QuickTime Streaming Server; and 4) a revamped Public Source License, which addresses concerns some members of the Open Source community had with Apple's original document...

  • 1474: Best Buy, Worst Attitude (4/19/99)   So much for an almost-timely happy-ending resolution to the whole Best Buy-Apple fracas... Sounds like the peace talks have broken down and things are at a standstill. The history of the relationship between these two is rocky, to say the least; remember, Best Buy was the first national retail chain to be stripped of its Apple-authorized reseller status back during the Great Purge of the Incompetent...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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