If you listen to my friends who use Macs, this story is the Apple v. Microsoft story in a microcosm:
Apple Computer may be forced to pay royalties to Microsoft for every iPod it sells after it emerged that Bill Gates’s software giant beat Steve Jobs’ firm in the race to file a crucial patent on technology used in the popular portable music players. The total bill could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.
Although Apple introduced the iPod in November 2001, it did not file a provisional patent application until July 2002, and a full application was filed only in October that year.
In the meantime, Microsoft submitted an application in May 2002 to patent some key elements of music players, including song menu software.
Apple creates something everyone loves, Microsoft makes the money off of it.