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Apple reportedly paid $21M to use Swiss Railway clock design

post #1 of 98
Thread Starter 
A report on Saturday claims that Apple paid some $21 million to license the iconic clock-face used in its most recent iOS 6 mobile operating system, a design made famous by the Swiss Federal Railway's train station clocks.

Clock
Left: Apple's iOS 6 clock. Right: the clock design owned by SBB.


According to global news agency AFP (via CNET), Apple reportedly agreed to pay a "lump sum" of $21 million to the railway service, known as SBB, for rights to the clock design seen in iOS 6 on the iPad.

The original clock-face was designed by SBB employee Hans Hilfiker in 1944, and has been recognized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the London Design Museum as an iconic example of 20th century design.

It was reported in September that SBB found Apple's use of the design objectionable, and said the two companies would "talk about" reaching some sort of agreement. The Swiss rail service denied reports that it was demanding compensation, and instead said it was proud that a company such as Apple chose to use the design.

"It's not just about exchanging money, rather drawing up a contract stating where the logo can be used, under what conditions and for how long," SBB spokeswoman Patricia Claivaz said at the time.

In mid-October, it was announced that the two parties had reached an agreement, though the terms of the deal were meant to be kept secret.
post #2 of 98

Pathetic!

post #3 of 98

That's an irresponsible use of company money, they should have just changed the app.

post #4 of 98
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
That's an irresponsible use of company money…

 

Hoo boy…

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #5 of 98

If that's true, that's just a waste of money!  I would just change the clock face.  How many of us actually use this feature?  It sounds like Apple got caught using protected property and just want to pay a lump sum to avoid being sued...  What a waste of $21 million.  Maybe this is the reason why a certain executive is on his way out???

post #6 of 98

Now THAT's some clock!

/

/

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #7 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeromeus View Post

If that's true, that's just a waste of money!  I would just change the clock face.  How many of us actually use this feature?  It sounds like Apple got caught using protected property and just want to pay a lump sum to avoid being sued...  What a waste of $21 million.  Maybe this is the reason why a certain executive is on his way out???

I don't know why they decided to change the clock just for the iPad. Why not just leave it the way it was and still is on the iPhone?

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #8 of 98
This is completely irresponsible. What the fu** is the Apple management team thinking?

Windows survivor - after a long, epic and painful struggle. Very long AAPL

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Windows survivor - after a long, epic and painful struggle. Very long AAPL

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post #9 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Now THAT's some clock!

/

/

Yeah they argue tooth and nail for $1 per iPhone for Motorola's important cellular patents yet give more than $2 per iPad that will be sold this quarter for a clock face. Makes no sense. They should have just apologized and changed it back to the original design.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #10 of 98
Great design costs. This is what separates Apple from every other company. They pay for stuff like this because it matters. It may not be obvious, or it may not matter to you, personally, but it matters in the bigger picture. It speaks volumes for the brand, to me.
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #11 of 98
Most famous paintings aren't worth that much. I can't comprehend how Apple can justify $21 million.
post #12 of 98
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
Great design costs. This is what separates Apple from every other company. They pay for stuff like this because it matters. It may not be obvious, or it may not matter to you, personally, but it matters in the bigger picture. It speaks volumes for the brand, to me.

 

GOOD, at least one other person gets it.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #13 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah they argue tooth and nail for $1 per iPhone for Motorola's important cellular patents yet give more than $2 per iPad that will be sold this quarter for a clock face. Makes no sense.

It makes no sense to you. But you aren't Apple, you don't know why they think this is important. The Moto case is completely irrelevant, and the $2 per iPad figure? Where did you get that from?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #14 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Hoo boy…

Well, you know, how many hours of software dev on OS X could that have bought? 100 guys for 2 years?

post #15 of 98

This is something that deserves to be in the Guinness World Records.

post #16 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Great design costs. This is what separates Apple from every other company. They pay for stuff like this because it matters. It may not be obvious, or it may not matter to you, personally, but it matters in the bigger picture. It speaks volumes for the brand, to me.

Couldn't agree more.

Some people will never get Apple.
post #17 of 98

Yes, pathetic.

 

You know, my daughter is in high school. She told me some people can't even read a clock. They are so used to digital.

 

Also, besides copying the design (which is total FAIL), it's too complicated. It should be simpler. Or something innovative and different.

 

Thankfully, Ive is in charge now and will turn things around. 

 

Forstall is a bozo.

 

P

post #18 of 98
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
Well, you know, how many hours of software dev on OS X could that have bought? 100 guys for 2 years?

 

Money ≠ best software in the world. You're not thinking in the right terms.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #19 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Great design costs. This is what separates Apple from every other company. They pay for stuff like this because it matters. It may not be obvious, or it may not matter to you, personally, but it matters in the bigger picture. It speaks volumes for the brand, to me.

Analog clock face is passé anyway. I'm surprised Apple is using that outdated symbol as it is. When you ask the guy on the street what time it is he pulls out his cell phone and the digital time is exact, not some approximate minutes past the o'clock.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #20 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Well, you know, how many hours of software dev on OS X could that have bought? 100 guys for 2 years?

100 guys for 2 years to do what? Throwing people behind development at Apple might bring about worse products, not better.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #21 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac-user View Post

This is something that deserves to be in the Guinness World Records.

Why? Under what heading? "Company spends 0.00408% of market cap on design it wants"?
post #22 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

GOOD, at least one other person gets it.

You mean copying cost? In addition to good design? Why even copy the clock? It's a busy looking image. No thanks.

post #23 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Analog clock face is passé anyway. I'm surprised Apple is using that outdated symbol as it is. When you ask the guy on the street what time it is he pulls out his cell phone and the digital time is exact, not some approximate minutes past the o'clock.

When was the last time you asked someone for the time?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #24 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Analog clock face is passé anyway. I'm surprised Apple is using that outdated symbol as it is. When you ask the guy on the street what time it is he pulls out his cell phone and the digital time is exact, not some approximate minutes past the o'clock.

And what do you do regularly in our life that requires a watch with that digital precision? (I hope your answer is not 'catch trains'1rolleyes.gif).
post #25 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

100 guys for 2 years to do what? Throwing people behind development at Apple might bring about worse products, not better.

Perhaps in QA so they don't keep releasing softwares that are half baked.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #26 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by pfisher View Post

Yes, pathetic.

You know, my daughter is in high school. She told me some people can't even read a clock. They are so used to digital.

Also, besides copying the design (which is total FAIL), it's too complicated. It should be simpler. Or something innovative and different.

Thankfully, Ive is in charge now and will turn things around. 

Forstall is a bozo.

P

This clock design actually feels like an Ive decision. You don't know it was Forstall's.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #27 of 98
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
…not some approximate minutes past the o'clock.

 

That's what the minute hand is for. It… tells you the minutes past the hour.


Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
100 guys for 2 years to do what? Throwing people behind development at Apple might bring about worse products, not better.

 

*nods* "Too many cooks," as it were.


Originally Posted by pfisher View Post

You mean copying cost? In addition to good design? Why even copy the clock? It's a busy looking image. No thanks.

 

Uh, "busy"? Can you envision a simpler clock?


Originally Posted by Ireland View Post
When was the last time you asked someone for the time?

 

There's a joke in the very existence of this sentence, I just know it. lol.gif

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #28 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

When was the last time you asked someone for the time?

Only a figure of speech. Just the this morning I was speaking with someone who informed me that the person I needed to wait for comes in at 9:30 AM and we both simultaneously pulled out our iPhones from of our pockets and in unison said "ok it is 9:06 right now". The only place in my life where there is an analog clock in on my iOS devices.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #29 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Only a figure of speech. Just the this morning I was speaking with someone who informed me that the person I needed to wait for comes in at 9:30 AM and we both simultaneously pulled out our iPhones from of our pockets and in unison said "ok it is 9:06 right now". The only place in my life where there is an analog clock in on my iOS devices.

So how did you read it then?
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #30 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


Why? Under what heading? "Company spends 0.00408% of market cap on design it wants"?

You're looking at it wrong. It's not about how much it means for Apple, it's about the price for a design part of a software.
Perhaps you can find some cases where someone paid for names, logos, use of images but design of an irrelevant part of an app...
Apple has never won the case against MS when it was obvious for everyone that MS has mirrored (copied invertedly) the design of the Mac OS.
Also how Google has done the same with the design of iOS in its Android.

post #31 of 98
Originally Posted by mac-user View Post
…it's about the price for a design part of a software.

 

Yeah, and that's the part we're liking. Instead of settling for second-rate crap, Apple will pay what it takes to give us the design they want. That speaks volumes.


Apple has never won the case against MS when it was obvious for everyone that MS has mirrored (copied invertedly) the design of the Mac OS.
Also how Google has done the same with the design of iOS in its Android.

 

See, this I've never understood. I thought you, you know, could protect how something looks. When Samsung is copying the GRADIENT ON THE KEYS OF THEIR KEYBOARD and people still pretend they haven't done anything wrong (and when Apple can't have $20 billion in damages levied), it makes you want to resort to physical violence to lock these people away from where they can speak.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #32 of 98

Everyone is getting up in arms that Apple paid $21 million for good design. Here's something I want you to pay attention to... Apple knew full well what they were doing when they used that clock design. The Swiss Railroad knew full well too.  What Apple is doing here is proving a point... that two companies can borrow each other's good design and intellectual property in a way where everyone benefits. Swiss Railroad executives were pleased with Apple that they saw good design, but they wanted to be compensated and Apple was happy to oblige.

 

Now if only Samsung and these other companies would act the same way.  Apple is willing to share their good ideas (hello Microsoft) as long as it's done in a way they agree with. Some companies just steal ideas and refuse to reward those who had the idea first. Apple is setting an example of how companies and intellectual property should operate.

post #33 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Yeah, and that's the part we're liking. Instead of settling for second-rate crap, Apple will pay what it takes to give us the design they want. That speaks volumes.

There is a problem for me about this design. Tradicionally, the indicator end of the second hand has an arrow shape, at more modern ones it's just a straight line. The circular shape used to mean the opposite end of the hand. You can argue that the opposite end also used to be shorter so that can indicate which end of the hand is which. However, as it looks unusually the indicator direction with the circular shape, it's confusing.
Check them:
Clock

 

See, this I've never understood. I thought you, you know, could protect how something looks. When Samsung is copying the GRADIENT ON THE KEYS OF THEIR KEYBOARD and people still pretend they haven't done anything wrong (and when Apple can't have $20 billion in damages levied), it makes you want to resort to physical violence to lock these people away from where they can speak.

I didn't mean Apple could use someone else's design illegally. I think they could have designed something else.

post #34 of 98
Originally Posted by mac-user View Post
There is a problem for me about this design. Tradicionally, the indicator end of the second hand has an arrow shape, at more modern ones it's just a straight line. The circular shape used to mean the opposite end of the hand. You can argue that the opposite end also used to be shorter so that can indicate which end of the hand is which. However, as it looks unusually the indicator direction with the circular shape, it's confusing.

 

Oh, sure, and I see where you're coming from with that, but I do believe the 'short end' aspect of this renders it at least partially moot.

 

The Swiss have always had a thing for (perhaps overly) ornamental hands.

 

1000

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #35 of 98

Has nobody noticed that Apple is making a deliberate statement here. "OK we are prepared to acknowledge top shelf design and we want to show how much it's worth to us as a company, this is why it's such a complete piss off that other companies copy our designs for use in the same type of competing product, and get away with it too"

 

On another note, Apple has improved the design as well.

post #36 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah they argue tooth and nail for $1 per iPhone for Motorola's important cellular patents yet give more than $2 per iPad that will be sold this quarter for a clock face. Makes no sense. They should have just apologized and changed it back to the original design.

1) With each new iPad sold the cost per device goes down but with the Moto licensing the total cost continues to rise.

2) They have sold over 100 million iPads (right?) but paid $21 million dollars. That's only 21¢ per device. It's a lot, but it will go down and by the time they are done using it I bet it will be a fraction of a penny as I expect the iPad market to just continue to grow and the use of this clock to be used in their other devices.

3) They had already used the clock without permission. Maybe they took a calculated risk when they used it or maybe it was an oversight, either way they were in violation and if they had changed it they would have still owed something, probably in the millions whether it was a settled in or out of court.

4) Calculated or not, this shows Apple will pay for designs.

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post #37 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeromeus View Post

If that's true, that's just a waste of money!  I would just change the clock face.  How many of us actually use this feature?  It sounds like Apple got caught using protected property and just want to pay a lump sum to avoid being sued...  What a waste of $21 million.  Maybe this is the reason why a certain executive is on his way out???

What all the whiners ignore is that Apple already used the clock - and can therefore be sued. It is quite plausible that they'd have spent a ton of money in legal fees and STILL paid more than $21 M.

Furthermore, it reinforces their position that people should pay for IP that they use - either intentionally or unintentionally.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #38 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post

Has nobody noticed that Apple is making a deliberate statement here. "OK we are prepared to acknowledge top shelf design and we want to show how much it's worth to us as a company, this is why it's such a complete piss off that other companies copy our designs for use in the same type of competing product, and get away with it too"

ok, it's a good point.

post #39 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, sure, and I see where you're coming from with that, but I do believe the 'short end' aspect of this renders it at least partially moot.

 

The Swiss have always had a thing for (perhaps overly) ornamental hands.

 

1000

The imagine of the sun and the moon perfectly symbolize an arrow, for me, and so the direction of the indicator, what is missing in the costly applied new iOS design

post #40 of 98

The thing here is that Apple was going to be forking over some cash for this no matter what. They already used the design and were open to being sued. Swiss Railways just kept it classy and opted to try and work out a deal behind closed doors first. 


The options were likely:

pay SBB smaller sum, change app, incur even more bad PR

pay SBB larger sum, keep app as-is, save some face

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