There you have it folks. The real inspiration for Apple's game-changing iPod, courtesy of the world's unluckiest Briton, Kane Kramer, 52 (not including the fifth Beatle). You see, in the dark technological days of 1979, Kramer saw a beacon of light in his IXI. Capable of playing a mind-busting 3.5 minutes of music, the IXI prototype was Kramer's ticket out of obscurity. Sadly, when he couldn't raise enough venture funding to renew the IXI patent in 1988, the device became the Zune of its time, and was largely forgotten. Fast forward to the present, when Apple, fresh from making year-over-year record profits with the iPod, needed Kramer something fierce to bail them out of a lawsuit jam with Burst.com.
Apple called Kramer so he could serve as a consultant for the trial, and so his patents and drawings could be used to settle the suit out of court.
"I was up a ladder painting when I got the call from a lady with an American accent from Apple saying she was the head of legal affairs and that they wanted to acknowledge the work that I had done," Kramer told Daily Mail. "I must admit that at first I thought it was a wind-up by friends. But we spoke for some time, with me still up this ladder slightly bewildered by it all, and she said Apple would like me to come to California to talk to them. Then I had to make a deposition in front of a court stenographer and videographer at a lawyers’ office. The questioning by the Burst legal counsel there was tough, ten hours of it. But I was happy to do it."
And now he'd be even happier collecting some of that multi-billion dollar iPod business, but so far all he received was compensation for his time at the trial. The struggling furniture salesman, fresh from another failed business, is now negotiating additional compensation, but says he was happy to help whatever the outcome. Well, as long as it isn't more iPods...
"I can’t even bring myself to buy an iPod for myself," he said. "Apple did give me one but it broke down after eight months." Hmm. Apple products seem to be doing that a lot these days.