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Tuesday, December 09, 2003, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Apple eying Discreet Desktop Video division?

In a follow-up to last week's rumors of a major restructuring at Discreet, which reportedly terminated the development of the next generation Cleaner project for Mac OS X, insiders are now reporting on a potential acquisition of the software by Cupertino based Apple Computer, Inc.

According to one source, high-level Apple executives partook in negotiations to acquire several desktop video assets of Autodesk's Discreet subsidiary in the weeks preceding the company's restructuring. Specifically, rumors entail a potential Apple purchase of all intellectual property assets and development teams associated with Discreet's Combustion, Cleaner, 3dsmax, and other desktop video products. Simultaneously, sources say Autodesk may decide to 'spin-off' the remainder of its Discreet division rather than mothball development on many of its products.

Autodesk officials would neither confirm nor deny rumors of an acquisition, stating that the company "does not comment on rumors or speculations involving Autodesk or Discreet." Meanwhile, Apple Computer has a long-standing policy that prevents it from commenting on rumor-centric information.

Cleaner is the industry standard for professional video encoding and the indispensable complement to Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere and Avid Xpress, supporting more video formats than any other product on the market. On the other hand, it's currently unclear what Apple's intentions would be for acquiring some of Discreet's other technologies, including 3dsmax.

Over the past few years Apple has been on a corporate buying spree, gobbling up numerous video-centric technologies from companies such as Macromedia (Final Cut Pro), Silicon Grail (RAYZ), and Prismo Graphics (LiveType). The computer maker also completed buyouts of Nothing Real (Shake), Focal Point Systems (Cinema Tools), and Emagic (Soundtrack).