Even though Apple was a successful company, it really saw its fortunes soar with the introduction of the iPod series of portable music players. With the iPod, Apple saw sort of a second coming. The world applauded Apple for it, not knowing that Apple never truly invented the tiny device that revolutionised the way people listened to music on the go.
Now, Apple has admitted that it did not invent the iPod. The real inventor of the iPod is Kane Kramer, a British furniture salesman who dropped out of school when he was 15 years old. Of course, needless to say, Apple was so busy reaping the profits that poor Mr Kramer was never paid a dime for his invention.
The truth about this came to light while Apple was defending itself against Burst.com that claimed ownership of the technological patents of the iPod. Mr Kramer invented this little plastic box that could play music in 1979. In its original form, the player could play about 3.5 minutes of music, long enough to hold half of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. He called the device IXI and got a worldwide patent for it. However due to financial constriants he could not arrange for the $120,000 needed to renew the patent. Thus this patent became open to adoption for other companies and Cupertino based Apple was the first. The rest, as they say, was history.
In Apple’s remarkable turnaround of fortunes, the company never acknowledged Mr Kramer’s contribution – neither in a public statement nor through monetary compensation. All through, the iPod was thought of as an Apple invention and Apple chose to keep it that way. Not surprising considering that Apple is afterall just another business.
However, it was this little plastic box that saved Apple, twice, once from its dwindling fortunes and once from the lawsuit against Burst.com. Yet, Apple, apparently has done nothing to help Mr Kramer who had to sell his house for the need of money, the person to whom Apple owes its second coming.