Toshiba and LG have agreed to share their respective optical disc patent portfolios the better to make each company's product development budget go further. The deal covers not only discs, but players and recorders too, and even extends to HD DVD - an interesting move given LG's preference for the Blu-ray Disc format.
For that reason, some commentators have seen the move as beneficial to the Toshiba-backed next-generation disc format, but there are far more factors effecting HD DVD's potential for success of failure in the marketplace than the two partners' profit margins.
Last month, LG said it would ship its first BD player, the BD199, in Q2. Given the uncertainty over which format will win the hearts, minds and disposable incomes of consumers, it's prudent to have a foot in the other camp. Similarly, Toshiba gets access to whatever BD intellectual property LG has up its sleeve.
More to the point, the deal goes a lot further than the HD DVD/BD battle and touches on both companies much broader recordable and rewriteable CD and DVD interests, all of which are likely to be bigger than HD media for some time yet.
The terms and conditions underpinning the agreement were not disclosed. ®