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Apple and Creative settle

File under “least surprising legal development of the day”. Apple and Creative have settled their big patent dispute – and it looks like a pretty clear win for Creative. As noted in Apple’s press release:

Apple will pay Creative $100 million for a paid-up license to use Creative’s recently awarded patent in all Apple products. Apple can recoup a portion of its payment if Creative is successful in licensing this patent to others. 

Ouch. However, Steve Jobs does manage to get in what sounds like a slightly bitter comment:

“Creative is very fortunate to have been granted this early patent,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.

You have to admire him. Only Jobs would make it sounds like Apple was somehow granting a poor neighbour some chump change.

The sting in the tail? Creative is going to be working on accessories for the iPod:

In addition, the companies announced that Creative has joined Apple’s “Made for iPod” program and will be announcing their own iPod® accessory products later this year.

I’d love to know what that is. But with Microsoft effectively pulling the rug from underneath Creative with Zune and what’s likely to be the slow death of the Plays For Sure system that underlies Creative’s own players, the company will desperately be casting around for alternative revenue streams. So perhaps, while Apple has lost the legal battle, Creative has finally admitted that Jobs and Co have won the war.

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