Info on Memory Stick Licencing Fees Available
Sony has recently added to its Memory Stick site a section on licencing the technology, including a sample licensing agreement. Sony uses a flat-fee policy. Each company that licences the Memory Stick pays 500,000 Yen/year, which is about $3,800. There is no charge for each unit sold. There is no additional fee for the Memory Stick Duo, the new smaller form, though there is one for MagicGate Memory Sticks. A licensee is allowed to make both regular Memory Sticks and the MS Duo and any device that makes use of them under this same agreement.
To develop products using the MagicGate MS, which is the copy-protected version, in addition to the basic license fee Sony charges 300,000 Yen/year, which is about $2,300, plus 80 yen per product, about $0.60.
Sony isn't the only Memory Stick manufacturer. Both Fujitsu and Lexar Media have licenses to make them. Other licensees are Aiwa, Kenwood, Pioneer, Sanyo Electric, and Sharp.
Of course, Sony includes a Memory Stick slot on all its handhelds. Last summer, Samsung announced it would begin adding Memory Stick slots it its products, though handhelds weren't specifically mentioned. Acer, which makes handhelds for the Chinese market, also includes a Memory Stick slot.
Over the past year, Sony and Matsushita/Panasonic have been embroiled in a war over flash memory, leading to reduced prices for both Memory Sticks and SD cards. At this point, that war appears far from over. Of course, these two formats are up against CompactFlash and SmartMedia, both of which have a commanding lead.
Thanks to Eugene for the info. -Ed
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