Dolby makes MIT an offer they can't refuse

Dolby may have fine technologies, but that’s not why they dominate. They dominate because they know how to grease the wheels of weak institutions.

MIT’s campus newspaper reports that Dolby paid one such institution — MIT — $30 million in return for a professor’s 1993 vote in favor of Dolby for DTV audio technologies. The professor, Jae S. Lim, will personally receive more than $8 million.

Jack Turner, the associate director of the Technology Licensing Office, claims, “There’s clearly a conflict of interest,” Turner said, but “it can’t be avoided. MIT’s reputation as being pure … in its academic evaluation of things is very important.” In his head adding, “unless money’s involved”.

In a court filing, professor Lim admits “I did not believe that the Dolby system was technically superior to the MIT system”. If not for love, then for money — he voted for Dolby so that MIT would bring home $30 million worth of bacon, since if the Philips solution won MIT wouldn’t see a dime.

This is an important story. I hope the $30 million was worth MIT’s complete loss of integrity. Link