Intel paying RealNetworks $120 million for patents and software


Chipmaking giant Intel and digital media outfit Real Networks have announced a surprise deal that sees Intel paying RealNetworks $120 million for about 190 RealNetworks patents, 170 patent applications, and RealNetworks’ forthcoming next-generation video codec software. Under the deal, RealNetworks will continue to have the right to use its old patents in current and future products; however, the patents will belong to Intel, and the company is free to use them in its own products and/or license them out to others.

“Selling these patents to Intel unlocks some of the substantial and unrealized value of RealNetworks assets,” said RealNetworks president and CEO Thomas Nielsen, in a statement. “It represents an extraordinary opportunity for us to generate additional capital to boost investments in new businesses and markets while still protecting our existing business.”

The deal will also apparently see Intel acquiring the RealNetworks team developing the video codec software, and the companies have inked a separate memorandum of understanding that they will collaborate on development and future support of the next-generation video software.

Neither RealNetworks nor Intel revealed Intel’s interest in the video software or RealNetworks’ patents, save to indicate the material will be used to give richer media experiences on Intel-powered devices—including ultrabooks and smartphones.

RealNetworks hasn’t been in the news much lately, since the departure of founder and former CEO Rob Glaser almost two years ago, spinning off Rhapsody into a separate company, and starting to roll out its Unifi cloud-based service in Germany last June. The company’s stock has lost almost a fifth of its value over the last three months as the company revealed a third-quarter loss, although its stock price rose sharply on news of the Intel deal. RealNetworks continues to operate the Helix streaming media platform, GameHouse, SuperPass, and offer products like the “Rinse” media library manager.

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