Intel buys RealNetworks patents and video codec software for $120 million

By on January 26, 2012, 3:30 PM

Intel has agreed to purchase roughly 190 patents, 170 patent applications and next generation video codec software from RealNetworks for $120 million. The buy isn’t expected to have any material impact on RealNetworks’ business as they will still retain certain rights to continue to use the patents in current and future products.

Renee James, Intel senior vice president and general manager of Software and Services Group, describes the patents as “foundational media patents” used to expand Intel’s extensive portfolio of intellectual property.

"As the technology industry evolves towards an experience-centric model, users are demanding more media and graphics capabilities in their computing devices," said James. "We believe this agreement enhances our ability to continue to offer richer experiences and innovative solutions to end users across a wide spectrum of devices, including through Ultrabook devices, smartphones and digital media."

In addition to the patent and next generation codec deal, the two companies have also signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on future support and development of the next generation video codec software and related products.

Specific details on the patents weren’t given and aside from the general statement of Ultrabooks, smartphones and digital media implementation, it’s unclear how Intel plans to use the newly acquired intellectual property.

Founded as Progressive Network in 1995 by former Microsoft executive Rob Glaser, the original goal of the company was to distribute politically progressive content. The company changed its name to RealNetworks in 1997 and became one of the pioneers of streaming media online.

They were one of the first to stream an audio event over the net, a baseball game between the Yankees and the Mariners, and were the first to launch a streaming video technology in 1997. By 2000, it is believed that more than 85 percent of streaming content online was in the Real format.

User Comments: 6

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Guest said:

who even uses realnetworks at all anymore?

RzmmDX said:

That was what I was thinking...

But I guess Real has some really neat patents that are worth 120 mil.

Guest said:

Seems like Intel is hell-bent on buying the whole industry.

bexwhitt said:

I fix PC's, if I find realplayer on a customers pc, I usually remove it, they probably don't need it (now the BBC have seen the light).

MrAnderson said:

Hmm... I can see it now... Intel chips specially designed to accelarte there video formats... so they are going to need the industry to pick up these formats otherwise they will just go to waste if no one is using them to distribute media... and the biggest place is online... watch out Flash video...

Muggs said:

As we see in article after article here many of these patents are not bought to be used they are purchased to be used as leverage in law suits. It is probably just more for protection vs patent trolls or as fuel to suits against competitors.

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