Apple admits it didn't invent the iPod
Kane Kramer claims that Apple has finally admitted that he is the real father of the iPod.
You know they'll make a movie out of this one. Well, at least something with "based on a true story" in small letters after the title.
The iPod was, apparently, invented not by some genius at Apple (not even a British one) but by a British furniture salesman who left high school at 15 and still has not been paid a dime for his brilliance.
London's Daily Mail is claiming that court documents prove that Apple has finally acknowledged Kane Kramer, a 52-year-old inventor who left high school 37 years ago, as the true father of the iPod.
(And to think that all this time I've been thinking if it wasn't Steve Jobs, then it had to be Bono.)
Apple flew Mr. Kramer to the US to give evidence in its defense against Burst.com, a company that claimed it held the true technological patents of the little plastic music box. It used his original scribbles, made in 1979, of a little plastic music box that, at the time, could only hold 3.5 minutes of music. Or roughly half of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.
Mr. Kramer secured a worldwide patent on his invention, which he then called the IXI. But, in one of those typical business tales of woe unlimited, he had a slight difference of opinion with his business partners and couldn't find the $120,000 he needed to renew that patent.
And so the Kramer Brainchild was open to adoption by any and every Seinfeld who lived down the corridor. Still, his scribbles and patents appear to have saved Cupertino's finest a lot of money.
"I was up a ladder painting when I got the call from a lady with an American accent from Apple saying she was the head of legal affairs and that they wanted to acknowledge the work that I had done," Mr. Kramer told the Daily Mail.
He added: "I must admit that at first I thought it was a wind-up by friends. But we spoke for some time, with me still up this ladder slightly bewildered by it all, and she said Apple would like me to come to California to talk to them."
Burst.com's counsel grilled Mr Kramer for 10 hours. You will not be surprised to hear that the Brit never cracked.
Perhaps he kept his concentration by wondering whether it would be Ralph Fiennes, or perhaps even Pierce Brosnan, who will be playing him in the movie version.
Mr. Kramer is now negotiating with Apple to see how much they might pay him. Um, I mean, for being the first person to imagine that you could reveal your true anti-social self by singing along to your plastic music box in remarkably full forms of public transport.
Though he has never actually bought an iPod ("Apple did give me one but it broke down after eight months," he said) Mr. Kramer is not waiting to see how much Apple might pay him for his past brilliance.
He has one more plan for securing not only his own future but that of his wife and three children. (Short of money, he had to sell his house last year and move his family into rented digs.)
He is now working on something called the Monicall, a device that records phone calls and then emails them as audio files to the participants.
Might I suggest he puts an 'i' in front of the brand name? Something tells me that will make it far more marketable.