An Open Letter from LizardTech to the Readers of ArcNews

LizardTech corporate logoWe at LizardTech are pleased to have the opportunity on these pages to tell you, the readers of ArcNews, about our MrSID products and technology and the ways MrSID can solve your problems and increase your productivity when working with raster imagery. Many of you have been early adopters and strong supporters of MrSID. It is the enthusiastic responses, and sometimes criticisms, of users and customers that help in our continual efforts to improve MrSID. Of course, all of us at LizardTech want to make a living, but more than that we ultimately want to enable every pixel on the planet with the benefits of MrSID. With the explosive growth of the Internet, we really are in the midst of a revolution in imaging. We think MrSID and other LizardTech innovations are poised to have a tremendous impact.

Over the last several years, LizardTech has developed a strong alliance with Esri and ERDAS. In the coming months, it is going to become even easier for you to use MrSID. As I write this, engineers from Esri, ERDAS, and LizardTech are hard at work building MrSID capabilities into ArcInfo, ArcView GIS, and other Esri software products. When the project is complete, every copy of ArcInfo will permit users to encode images into the MrSID format (*.sid). You'll also be able to upgrade to the performance of MrSID Desktop (including mosaicking and encoding of images up to 500 MB) simply by submitting your order to your Esri representative and getting an unlock code. This is exciting for LizardTech and Esri, and we hope it will be useful to you. LizardTech will continue to license the MrSID Decoder SDK at no charge because we want everyone to be able to read *.sid files, whatever their application. This has been a successful strategy; today you can read our files in Web browsers and in more than 200 desktop applications likely to be used with large raster images.

LizardTech is convinced that MrSID is the most technologically robust image encoding/decoding product on the market and that its performance and ease of use are superior to any competing product when you have genuinely mission-critical decisions to make based on your raster imagery.

The core technology in MrSID is based on work done at Los Alamos National Laboratory by scientists who wrote the FBI's WSQ image standard for fingerprint compression for electronic transmission. Among its many functions, the Lab is charged under federal law with the responsibility of licensing to commercial entities technologies created in the Lab that might have commercial value. Years ago, I was working as a consultant in Los Alamos when I heard about the MrSID technology. I was excited enough by its potential to form a Business around it. LizardTech was able to license the technology and begin the development path for MrSID that has led to us being a fast-growing company in Seattle, Washington, with offices in Ohio; Washington, D.C.; and Amsterdam. Today many of the scientists who worked on the MrSID technology at Los Alamos work full-time as part of the LizardTech team. LizardTech has invested and continues to invest a great deal in developing and improving its MrSID products. As a technology company, our greatest assets are our employees and the power of their ideas, which create our intellectual property.

As many of you may be aware, LizardTech recently commenced a lawsuit against one of our competitors, alleging that the competitor's products infringe our patent. There are other issues as well, including trademark misappropriation and copyright infringement. By taking this action, we are letting others know that we won't hesitate to act should it become necessary to protect the investment our customers, employees, and shareholders have made in MrSID products and formatted data, and continue to make every day. While some in the market have found our actions controversial, protecting intellectual property is part of the normal course of Business and one more sign that LizardTech is here to stay. Fair competition requires, among other things, that companies respect one another's intellectual property and that accurate information be disseminated in advertising. These values should be important to all of us. A company protecting its intellectual property through a patent infringement action is unexceptional in most industries; there is no reason it should be any different with software.

In the months and years to come, we have big plans for MrSID that will improve your experience and make the technology more and more useful to you while becoming increasingly transparent. We've enjoyed getting where we are, with your help, and thank you for your support.


John R. Grizz Deal
President and CEO

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