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Finally, some good news for Quibi

Finally, some good news for Quibi


The spat over Quibi’s signature feature is settled (the bad news: Quibi’s still dead)

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Quibi’s zombie may finally be able to rest its weary head. The company’s successor has settled an ongoing feud with eternal thorn-in-its-side Eko.

Eko, an interactive video company, and Quibi's successor QBI Holdings announced today that they’d reached a settlement in the legal battle over Quibi’s perspective-shifting Turnstyle feature, which Eko alleged the streaming service had swiped from its own proprietary video technology. Both companies have agreed to dismiss their legal action against one another, and Quibi will hand over both the video technology and Turnstyle IP to Eko as part of their agreement.

“This result will help ensure that Eko remains the undisputed leader in interactive storytelling technology,” Eko boss Yoni Bloch said in a statement.

Quibi was founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman and debuted last year amid a flurry of streaming launches. The mobile-first service was meant to fit those in-between moments on the train or while waiting in line when users had time to kill on their phones, with Quibi serving up high-production-value “quick bite” videos backed by leading creators and A-list talent.

Katzenberg and camp are “satisfied with the outcome”

The problem was that the service launched amid the pandemic when those on-the-go viewers it hoped to find were stuck indoors. At first reluctant to implement casting support, the service struggled to hold on to paying subscribers. Quibi was plagued by myriad problems straight through to its untimely demise less than a year after its launch, including but certainly not limited to its ongoing legal battles against Eko.

Eko, an interactive storytelling platform, claimed that Quibi stole the idea for its Turnstyle technology that allowed Quibi users to view certain perspectives from a title based on the orientation of their phone in either portrait or landscape mode. Eko called Quibi’s technology “a near-identical copy of its own, from the patented smart video response system down to the way files are created, formatted and stored.” Eko was granted a patent for its own video technology in October 2019.

Quibi finally shut down in December, and Roku swooped in to snap up the IP remains from its corpse for its own streaming service, The Roku Channel. But it left behind the Turnstyle tech and its legal woes, which remained unresolved prior to this week.

In a statement, Katzenberg said that his camp was “satisfied with the outcome of this litigation, and proud of the independently created contributions of Quibi and its engineering team to content presentation technology.” If only anyone had actually used it.