September 18, 2000 6:15 PM PDT

Apple licenses Amazon's 1-Click

Apple Computer has become the first company to license Amazon.com's controversial patented 1-Click technology.

Apple added the feature to its online store today, said Mitch Mandich, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Apple.

"It's great technology," Mandich said. "It provides (Amazon's) customers with excellent service and easy ordering. We wanted customers to have that same kind of experience in our store."

Amazon executives did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment. Mandich declined to disclose the financial terms of the licensing agreement.

Amazon's 1-Click feature allows returning customers to purchase items by simply pressing one mouse button. The technology saves people from having to re-enter shipping addresses or credit card numbers.

The technology is at the center of a patent dispute between Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com. Amazon sued its bookstore rival in October, accusing Barnesandnoble.com of illegally copying its 1-Click feature.

Although Amazon won a preliminary injunction against Barnesandnoble.com in December, a second patent, this time on its Affiliates system, led to criticism of the Seattle-based company. Critics charged that Amazon's patents covered obvious and widespread technology and would harm the growth of e-commerce.

In response, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos called for a reform of the nation's patent system.

Apple earns about 25 percent of its revenue through its online store, Mandich said.

"Our online store is very strong," he said. "We wanted to make our customer experience better than it is today."

 

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