According to a press release issued this morning in France, the XHD 100MB
Super Floppy, as it is known, will begin shipping immediately to original
equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and major retailers in France.
Katherine Gilmour, a spokesperson for the company, told Newsbytes that the
plan is to start shipping the disks in the US by the end of the year. The
key benefit of the floppy disk, Newsbytes understands, is that it will be
cheaper than the official Zip disk.
Laurie Keating, a spokesperson for Iomega, however, told Newsbytes that
the company has been aware of the XHD floppies since late February of this
year, when Nomai reportedly mailed its French distributors, telling them
about plans to announce the disk system at the CeBIT Computer Faire in
Hannover, Germany, in March.
"We moved quickly to protect our interests on this, and succeeded in
getting a German court order prohibiting their sales of the disk at CeBIT.
In the event, they said nothing at the show, so we waited until the last
day of the event before serving the court order," she said.
According to Keating, after the CeBIT Faire, Iomega then succeeded in
getting a court order against Nomai and executed a seizure raid against the
company's French factory.
"The court orders were on the basis that the XHD disks were of the same
appearance as our Zip disks and, perhaps more importantly, that Nomai
utilized confidential information from Iomega in developing its XHD
system," she explained.
Keating went on to say that she was surprised at Nomai's announcement
earlier today of its plans to ship product on both sides of the Atlantic.
She said that she would have expected the French company to await the
result of the appeal against the court order.
"Our understanding is that they claim to have a product which has been
changed since the February 27 letter to distributors and, as such, it does
not violate the court order. We understand that the court has not seen the
new designs, and we are very keen to see the new format," she said.
Nomai, meanwhile, claims that the introduction of the XHD disks comes
"after the implementation by Nomai of the changes requested by the Paris
court on its judgement of June 20, 1997 and the removal on September 9,
1997 of the injunction granted to Iomega against the XHD by the Hannover
Keating said that Iomega was surprised about the German court lifting its
order dating from the CeBIT Faire. "We haven't seen anything in writing
about this, but we will be looking at (our options) once this has been
done," she said.
According to Keating, Iomega has spent "millions" developing its Zip drive
technologies and is very serious about protecting its rights on the
She went on to say that Iomega is keen to point out that using an XHD disk
in one of its Zip drives could cause problems if, for example, the disk
causes a failure of the Zip drive. "It could invalidate the warranty," she
Nomai, meanwhile, claims that its manufacturing experience and capabilities
"will enable it to offer a Zip compatible media with the same quality and
at a more competitive price than Iomega's product."
According to Nomai, the XHD product will be manufactured by Nomai
facilities that are ISO 9002 certified.
Iomega's Keating, meanwhile, said that she understands that Nomai has
contracted the actual manufacture of the XHD disks out to a third party
company called M-Tech. "We have a court order against M-Tech prohibiting
them from infringing our copyrights. That order is still in place," she
Nomai, meanwhile, is keen to see the XHD disk to shop on both sides of the
Atlantic. Marc Frouin, the company's president, said that the company has
"known for a long time that we could produce a Zip compatible diskette at a
"Nomai is proud to be the first independent manufacturer to offer the Zip
compatible media," he explained.
Nomai's Web site is at http://www.nomai.fr .
Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner.
-Toa Te Ching