Industry News


Stephen Clark Jr.

As anyone that has more than a passing interest in DVD technology should know by now, Apple has announced its new G4 computer system, which will be bundled with the company’s iDVD mastering software and Pioneer’s DVR-103 DVD-R drive. What might have escaped the eye during all of Apple’s glitter at Macworld is the fact that Compaq has also announced a computer system that will feature a bundled Pioneer DVD-R drive as well as DVD mastering software. While Apple has garnered the lion’s share of attention with its announcement, DVD drive bundling may soon become an industry-wide trend.

Many of the major PC manufacturers, presumably with OEM deals of their own in the works, had no comment about their position. One can expect the market for recordable DVD to go the same way as recordable CD-R, with the drives and software being offered, at the least, as a premium add-on option. “Bundling the drive makes sense, as one company can provide a complete turnkey solution,” says Andy Parsons, senior vice president of product development and tech support at Pioneer New Media Technologies.

Of course, the biggest reason that consumers may not adopt the systems is the price. Recordable DVD drives are markedly more expensive than their recordable CD counterparts. However, the price can be expected to come down as the market becomes more competitive. “The systems will start out on the high end,” says Parsons. “Demand is high, though, and as price drops, it should start to make headway into the consumer world. I think a lot of people want to make DVDs.”

The bundling of recordable DVD drives may be seen as the natural progression of removable storage on a computer. As many may remember, ten years ago there weren’t too many computer systems that shipped with a CD-ROM drive on board, and software was distributed and archived on a handful of 3.5-inch (or 5.25-inch) floppy diskettes. As software and data are becoming increasingly bloated, the need for a reliable, fast, and removable storage medium becomes increasingly important.

Stephen Clark Jr.

NTI Acquires WonderWriter from MerkWerks

Acacia Research Corp. has announced that its subsidiary, MerkWerks Corp., has sold its CD recording software product and the WonderWriter trademark to NewTech Infosystems, Inc. (NTI). “The sale of the WonderWriter enables us to monetize a non-core asset and further enhance our focus on building and acquiring companies in the life science sector,” says Paul Ryan, chairman and CEO of Acacia Research.

The WonderWriter is a CD mastering application that is designed for Macintosh computers. “NTI will continue the development of WonderWriter, to further the software product’s value to our Mac-based customers,” says Bill Yao, president and CEO of NTI.

(NewTech Infosystems, Inc., 1395 Warner Avenue, Tustin, CA 92780; 714/259-9700; Fax 714/259-9727; Acacia Research Corporation, 55 South Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101; 626/396-8300; Fax 626/535-0344; http://www.

Optibase, Ltd. to Acquire

Viewgraphics, Inc.

Optibase, Ltd. has announced that it has signed definitive agreements to acquire Viewgraphics, Inc. Optibase’s board of directors has approved the agreements. Under the terms of the agreement, Optibase will first purchase all of Viewgraphics’ intellectual property, and then acquire all of the company’s outstanding shares, options, and warrants. The aggregate consideration will amount to approximately $30 million in cash, and 1.37 million newly issued shares of Optibase’s common stock. Optibase will also assume the unvested options of Viewgraphics. When completed, Viewgraphics will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Optibase, Inc.

(Optibase, Inc., 3031 Tisch Way, Plaza West, Suite 1, San Jose, CA 95128; 800/451-5101, 408/260-6760; Fax 408/244-0545; Viewgraphics, Inc., 1250 Space Park Way, Mountain View, CA 94043; 650/903-4900; Fax 650/969-6388;

Exabyte Spins off CreekPath Systems

Exabyte Corporation has announced that it has spun off its subsidiary, CreekPath Systems, into an independent, privately held corporation. CreekPath has recently closed a $17 million equity financing from TeleSoft Partners, Sequel Venture Partners, and Exabyte Corporation.

(Exabyte Corporation, 1685 38th Street, Boulder, CO 80301; 303/417-7511; Fax 303/417-5500;

Sigma Designs and EnReach Technology Form Partnership

Sigma Designs and EnReach Technology, Inc. have announced a partnership to develop digital TV broadcast, Video-On-Demand streaming and DVD playback applications for advanced interactive set-top boxes. Both companies will work on the National Geocode SPISC10 reference platform running Linux. EnReach will provide EnReachTV4 client middleware and VOD applications while Sigma will provide EM8400 MPEG decoder hardware and software. “Studies, predicting that broadband streaming for music and movies on demand will gain acceptance through multi-purpose set-top boxes, show that we are definitely on the right track,” says Ken Lowe, vice president of marketing at Sigma Designs.

(Sigma Designs, Inc., 355 Fairview Way, Milpitas, CA 95035-3024; 408/262-9003; Fax 408/957-9740; EnReach Technology, Inc., 2130 Gold Street, #200, Alviso, CA 95002-2160; 408/956-8200; Fax 408/956-8209;

SmartDisk Completes Acquisition of MTC

SmartDisk Corporation has closed its acquisition agreement with Multimedia Technology Center (MTC) of Mohawk, NY. Under the terms of the agreement, SmartDisk has acquired all rights of ownership to MTC’s DVDMotion suite of software products. As part of the transaction, MTC’s chief operating officer will join SmartDisk as chief software architect.

(SmartDisk Corporation, 3506 Mercantile Avenue, Naples, FL 34104; 941/436-2500; Fax 941/436-2553;


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