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  • Report Reveals Apple Paid $21 Million for Swiss Railway Clock Design

    Apple's iOS 6 clock on the left and SBB clock design on the right

    A recently released report claims that Apple paid roughly $21 million to license the iconic clock-face used in its most recent iOS 6 mobile operating system, which is a design made famous by the Swiss Federal Railway’s train station clocks.

    For those of you who didn’t know, the original clock-face was designed by SBB employee Hans Hilfiker in 1944. The design was later 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 previously reported that the 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 of demanding compensation and instead said it was proud that a company such as Apple chose to use the design. According to SBB spokeswoman Patricia Claivaz, "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.” Shortly after, it was announced that the two parties reached an agreement, though the terms of the deal were meant to be kept secret with the recent report ended up revealing the actual price paid.

    It’s quite amazing to see how much value the icon itself has and how much Apple was willing to pay for it.

    Source: CNET
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Report Reveals Apple Paid $21 Million for Swiss Railway Clock Design started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. 0055's Avatar
      0055 -
      Apple makes awesome products but I don't understand why they couldn't just come up with their own design and save 21 mil...
    1. KraXik's Avatar
      KraXik -
      Too much. Just change the design. I bet Ive could make one during his lunch break. At least it's one less court case...
    1. recognition's Avatar
      recognition -
      Are they using the actual same design now, technically? Like the weights of the lines etc. Or is it their interpretation of the Swiss design?
      If its the actual Swiss design then I can see why they paid so much for it. It's a design classic, a piece of modern art, hence the price.
      You could say why would someone pay millions for a painting when they can pay an artist a few hundred bucks to paint a copy?
    1. Wolftamer's Avatar
      Wolftamer -
      Quote Originally Posted by 0055 View Post
      Apple makes awesome products but I don't understand why they couldn't just come up with their own design and save 21 mil...
      21mil to Apple is like 50 cents to you and I
    1. ThuD Muffin's Avatar
      ThuD Muffin -
      It is a very elegant clock, although at the end of the day it's only pixels.,.
    1. luvmytj's Avatar
      luvmytj -
      Where is this used? I am looking at an iPhone 5 running iOS6 and it has a different clock face.

      Anyways, what a waste. A 3rd grader could of come up with that. Why not just make the round ball on the sweep hand an Apple? Send me 21mil and I'll make you a sweet azz clock face for iOS 7...
    1. Tucnepo's Avatar
      Tucnepo -
      After I restore from my backup, I still have the old classic clock I have a iPhone 5 on iOS 6.0.1 btw, anyone else has the same problem???
    1. redstar299's Avatar
      redstar299 -
      For a clock?
    1. Mrteacup's Avatar
      Mrteacup -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wolftamer View Post
      21mil to Apple is like 50 cents to you and I
      Still 21 million, if apple thought like that they wouldnt be this valuable..

      however it is swiss brand studies show swiss concepts/designs appeal more and i personally like them more. They do have a reputation we all know
    1. scroogelives's Avatar
      scroogelives -
      Quote Originally Posted by luvmytj View Post
      Where is this used? I am looking at an iPhone 5 running iOS6 and it has a different clock face.

      Anyways, what a waste. A 3rd grader could of come up with that. Why not just make the round ball on the sweep hand an Apple? Send me 21mil and I'll make you a sweet azz clock face for iOS 7...
      It's on iPads
    1. thetoothfairy's Avatar
      thetoothfairy -
      Quite a bit of money for the clock! I feel it is tasteful however Apple could have did better!
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      Still a bit of a waste in my opinion. I know they are worth billions and its like pennies to them. At the same time that's a lot of cash for a clock of all things.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Way too much $$ for a clock design! You'd think Jony Ive could have come up with something pretty awesome instead of forking 21 mill over!
    1. thazsar's Avatar
      thazsar -
      I need to start making clock face designs...
    1. kawasabi's Avatar
      kawasabi -
      21 million could buy a lot of food for hungry people...
    1. Dark_Ninja's Avatar
      Dark_Ninja -
      I'm sure Apple "Innovated" that clock face too huh? Cuz aren't they the maker of all things? Including shapes, obviously!
    1. thazsar's Avatar
      thazsar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Ninja View Post
      I'm sure Apple "Innovated" that clock face too huh? Cuz aren't they the maker of all things? Including shapes, obviously!
      But, of course!!! LOL!

      Apple could rewrite history if they felt like it!
    1. Dark_Ninja's Avatar
      Dark_Ninja -
      Quote Originally Posted by thazsar View Post
      But, of course!!! LOL!

      Apple could rewrite history if they felt like it!
      Haha ur so right!
    1. pichito's Avatar
      pichito -
      Quote Originally Posted by steve-z17 View Post
      Way too much $$ for a clock design! You'd think Jony Ive could have come up with something pretty awesome instead of forking 21 mill over!
      Everyone is Captain Hindsight. Of course 21 million is too much. But it’s not like they were shopping for a clock face and saw this one and said “hey 21million that sounds like a good deal… I’ll take it”. The complaint came after apple stole/”borrowed” the design. Oversight I guess? Someone Googling clock faces, sees this one and says “hey, that’s pretty sweet”, and used it without checking if someone owned the design? That’s just my guess. I don’t know how it went down.
      I’m figuring they would have been sued. 21 million was the settlement. Both parties win no court case., and Apple doesn’t look like a total douche for stealing a design when they are in lawsuits of their own for people copying their designs.