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NEWS • Jul. 09, 2001
Exclusive: Apple Looks To 'Spruce' Up DVD Line
Company to acquire Spruce Technologies, maker of DVD authoring and encoding systems

by David Nagel
Executive Producer

Apple will acquire Spruce Technologies, a maker of several DVD software and hardware products, including some DVD authoring suites and a technology for delivering DVD video and audio over the Internet. What makes the move unusual is that Spruce's products to date have been for Windows NT only. Creative Mac had been tipped off to the story this weekend.

When asked about the acquisition, Apple had only a short reply of confirmation and would not make any further comments. An Apple spokeswoman wrote to Creative Mac:

"Apple is acquiring Spruce Technologies, a leading provider of professional DVD authoring software. This acquisition further enhances Apple's position as the preeminent platform for DVD authoring. Apple will offer a migration plan to existing Spruce customers to help them preserve their investment in Spruce software."

The rumor of a Spruce acquisition had made the rounds in at least one DVD list, but the move did not seem terribly likely, given Spruce's lack of Mac software. Products in the Spruce software lineup include Premaster Tool, DVDVirtuoso, DVDMaestro, DVDConductor, DVDPerformer, SpruceLink and SpruceUp. Each one is geared toward varying degrees of authoring functionality, from high-end, turnkey professional systems to personal DVD authoring.

Spruce offers NT-only solutions for DVD authoring and encoding.
This is a screen shot of DVDMaestro, the company's
high-end authoring suite.

Spruce's encoder boards include the MPX3000, which is a real-time encoder for MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, as well as AC-3 Dolby Digital Two-Channel encoding. The other board is the ACXpress 5100, a PCI card that provides real-time 5.1-channel Dolby Digital encoding.

There is no word from Apple as to how Spruce's technologies will be incorporated into Apple's production line. Spruce's systems are geared primarily for studio work. Apple earlier this year acquired the company Focal Point Systems, which published FilmLogic, a tool for film producers using Final Cut Pro.

There's also no word from Apple on how they plan to support NT systems or whether they will continue to manufacture them. Apple's previous acquisitions of the technologies behind Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro resulted in Mac-only solutions.

We'll bring you updates as they become available. For more information on Spruce, visit http://www.sprucetechnologies.com.

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