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Eight Congressmen wrote a letter to the ITC opposing the Xbox 360 ban

A group of Congressmen wrote a letter to the International Trade Commission (ITC) in opposition of an import ban against Microsoft's Xbox 360 console.

Congress members Dave Reichert, Norm Dicks, Jim McDermott, Doc Hastings, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Jaime Herrera Beutler signed the letter, which urged the ITC to think twice about the Xbox 360 ban.

The letter was prompted by an ITC investigation into Motorola Mobility's patent infringement claims against Microsoft. As a result, ITC administrative law Judge David Shaw has recommended that the Xbox 360 console should be banned. The issue is the H.264 codec, which Motorola has patents associated with the video codec.

However, the above-mentioned list of Congress members along with companies like Verizon and Nokia disagree with the ban. In the letter from Congress members, it said a ban on the Xbox 360 could threaten high-paying U.S. jobs as well as economic growth, since the Xbox 360 is one of the top gaming consoles in the U.S. at the moment.

In addition, the letter noted that an exclusion order could hurt third-party investments that provide products and services for the Xbox 360 and depend on its sales. Game developers, publishers and retailers mainly fall under this category.

U.S. consumers could stand to lose as well, according to the letter to ITC Chairman Deanna Okun. Without the Xbox 360, competition in the gaming industry could be stifled and lead to an increase in prices for game consoles and titles.

"For these reasons, we urge you to consider carefully the implications a negative ruling in this matter would have on our economy, consumers, industry and jobs in Washington State and throughout the country," said the letter.

Motorola had also sought to ban the Xbox 360 and Windows 7 OS in Germany last month.

The letter to the ITC can be found here.

Sources: Scribd, Scribd

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H.264 is a monopoly
By Tujan on 6/14/2012 10:32:06 AM , Rating: 2
"he issue is the H.264 codec, which Motorola has patents associated with"

Most every Internet format for video is taken via the H.264 codec in some way. There are hundreds of holders for the patent to the H.264 codec. Every thing from broadcasting FM,to transcoding/and encoding a home made video for personal use.

Trouble with the situation is that being a Patent,patent holders utilize a 'liscence'by device practice in their vetting.

These congress men are actually out of their own league. And the communications cos. will have to work through their own problems.

For me as a computer user,I see H.264 as a monopoly in and of itself. Since it is the only usable codec being in an 'device centric environment'. Where H.264 decides where and when you me,or any one else can utilize visual communications.

Its cushy for the patent holders. And the codec itself is a some what software program. But distinguishing the device centric problem from the video solution is a difficult one when H.264 is a monopoly in most corners seen these days.

RE: H.264 is a monopoly
By Floorbit on 6/14/2012 10:38:37 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with Tujan.

RE: H.264 is a monopoly
By Floorbit on 6/14/2012 11:01:43 AM , Rating: 2
Besides using a codec for the Xbox,could probably be installed by the user of the device. Situation being Motorola would have to have it to offer individual owners of a device,. This is different from having the codec available only to vendors.

See a good post up there about actual process of initiating the patent action. Dont see how complaining to the ITC does anything in a process centric relationship of proceedings. As if the congress men are being witnesses or something.

RE: H.264 is a monopoly
By NellyFromMA on 6/14/2012 3:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I don't understand how the success of a codec and the failure for a comptetitor to rise up and compete with it then qualifies it as a monopoly?

It's almost like, hey, go out there and do good, just not TOO good. Kind of weird.

And yes, I know what a monopoly is in terms of business and companies, but it doesn't seem appropriate here.

RE: H.264 is a monopoly
By Smilin on 6/18/2012 1:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
I think what he's getting at is "industry standard". Basically what we've got with this codec is a "monopoloy" that everyone in the industry agreed to allow beforehand.

As you can imagine a monopoly of these sorts would be horrible for the consumer. All parties also know this. So to avoid such horrors they agree that all will be allowed to license this technology. Only after such an agreement is the monopoloy then allowed to go forward.

What motorola is doing here is now exactly the opposite of that agreement: They are taking the agreed upon monopoly and abusing it to the detriment of consumers.

h.264 has almost three thousand patents related to it. Microsoft licenses a couple thousand of these from a group of 20-30 companies for a couple pennies. Now Motorola wants like 20 bucks for just 50 of the thousands of patents.

It's ludicrous and motorola knows good and well Microsoft won't accept it. They just want to get some leverage against Microsoft in some other disput that involves patents that are *not* industry standard ones.

The only reason there is such huge debate about this is because it involves "big bad microsoft" know the guys that repeatedly settle out of court for infringments that they are under no obligation to allow at all. MS has been taking the high road for a long time now (since their once dark past). I wonder when anyone is going to wake up and give them props?

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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