The DVD consortium showed further signs of fragmenting this week as six of the original 10 members agreed on methods to accelerate the take-up of the putative standard.
Hitachi, Matsushita, Mitsubishu, Time Warner, Toshiba and Victor said they will license patents for both DVD write (Ram) and DVD read only (Rom).
The news, announced at the DVD Forum in Berlin this week, will set the cat amongst the four other DVD pigeons, which decided to break with the consortium earlier this year. Philips, Sony, Pioneer and French company Thomson split from the original group and said they would go ahead with their own read-write optical drive standard, but that has led to stalemate in the marketplace.
But the Big Six are now in negotiations with the renegades in the hope that the patents issues can be settled without the courts being involved.
If the disputes are not settled swiftly, the whole potentially lucrative DVD market is likely to be stymied - especially with the further problem that some third party suppliers, which were not in the original gang of 10 at all, have already produced players to its original specification. For instance, Samsung has had DVD players in production for some months but has had difficulty selling them because it does not want to become involved in a patents war.
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