Real CEO Glaser begs Apple to make iPod play nice with other music services

“RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser has a message for Apple Computer chief Steve Jobs: Open iPod or shrivel,” Michael Kanellos reports for CNET “Glaser, the feisty founder of the Internet entertainment network, said during a panel discussion Tuesday at PC Forum here that Apple is creating problems for itself by using a file format that forces consumers to buy music from Apple’s own iTunes site.”

“Because Apple’s iPod music player does not support other proprietary music formats and does not license its own format to rivals, Real’s Rhapsody and other song sites are blocked from easily reaching iPod users,” Kanellos reports. “‘Apple’s (market) share will go down if they continue to do this. The only way to presently put songs on an iPod is to (buy) them from iTunes,’ Glaser said, referring to downloads purchased from online music stores. In addition to iTunes songs, the iPod can play files encoded in the MP3 format, including tracks ripped from CDs.”

“Hewlett-Packard, which has partnered with Apple on digital music, is in a position to persuade the company to change its practice, he said,” Kanellos reports. “‘There is a good opportunity to say to Steve, ‘You’ve done a good job of promoting this thing, but now one of two bad things will happen,” Glaser said. ‘One, Apple’s market share will go down to its historical single-digit levels, or two, it will slow down the development of this market.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Glaser wants iPod to work with Real Rhapsody’s music format: AAC with the Helix DRM. Currently, iPod plays AAC with Fairplay DRM from the iTunes Music Store, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, AIFF and WAV. The real question is why would an iPod owner want to use Real’s Rhapsody when they already have the best software with iTunes for Mac or Windows? (If you are really dying to use Rhapsody, you have to burn a CD and import that into iTunes for use in your iPod). So, what’s in it for Apple or Apple iPod users? While in the short term, it might be nice to team up with Real against Microsoft’s WMA used by Napster, Wal-Mart, BuyMusic and others, is Real really a force for the long term? Sounds like Rhapsody is in trouble. Napster, the number two legit online music service is less than 1/10th the size of Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Too many iPod owners means not enough Rhapsody customers. Real and the WMA pack are selling only leaded gasoline, but most people are driving a device that requires Apple-formulated and Apple-owned super unleaded. Only Apple sells this special super unleaded. No wonder Glaser’s begging. Unless Apple falters in a big way, and there’s no sign of even a wobble so far, Apple should stay the course – at this rate the others will suffocate before too long. And HP is about to begin selling iPods, too, with iTunes preloaded on HP PCs – that’s gotta hurt.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Napster CEO: ‘it would be great’ if Apple iPod supported WMA – March 09, 2004
Napster Exec: warns ‘stay-off the Apple platform’ to MIDEM international music market delegates – January 26, 2004


  1. In a perfect world everything would work together no problem with the technology best suited for the job. Apple of course. Bill Gates has same vision but only in his dreams does it all work perfectly.
    Maybe one day Apple will open up iPod but not yet.

  2. Glaser says “Apple’s (market) share will go down if they continue to do this.” If this were really true then you would think that he would WANT Apple to continue to lock out other contenders, thereby losing market share. No, Glaser says what he says because he’s losing and he’s desperate. Go Steve! Go Apple!

  3. “Open iPod or shrivel” sounds like a threat, one that Apple can dismiss as empty rhetoric. Real is not selling any content that the iTunes Music Store does not allready sell so there is no incentive for users to buy music from them. Statements like “The only way to presently put songs on an iPod is to (buy) them from iTunes” are nothing more than lies; iPods can play MP3, WAV, AIFF, AAC and M4P files ripped from CDs and encoded by any application. Perhaps Apple should set the record straight on exactly what files can be used with iPods since the competition has resorted to these dis-information campaigns.

  4. Real needs to just co-brand iTunes like HP did. No one else can make money selling tracks, only Apple has the profitable plan: iPod sales. So Real should be smart and just co-brand iTunes music store. This way Apple bears the cost and Real can keep their customers using the Real player. Any other way is just real digging a money pit for themselves. They need to think out of the box. Music Stores are about selling the player. Since Real doesn’t sell hardware, let them co-brand the music store and make it an option on their player.

  5. Even if iPod/iTunes worked with other systems, I still would not use. Apple has best solution. That is the bottom line. That is why they get my $$$. The company who gives me what I want…ease of use, cool factor, functional hardware/software, reasonalbe pricing (cheaper is not always better)…is the owner of my hard earned dollar. Those who can’t compete on technology, compete on price. The REALNETWORKS CEO should strive to raise the bar, not lower it so he can compete.

  6. When real stop making inferior versions of realplayer for mac, and stop having all that rubbish telling you to register, when you dont want to. And stop telling you to upgrade.

    Then I’ll understand him.

  7. LOL, Glaser: “we are dying Apple, we beg you to open up iPod, so some will buy from us too”


    As far as Apple losing market share… how since the iPod is gaining market share constantly?


    How about Rhapsody offering their music in ACC format with Fairplay DRM?

    ACC format is now becoming the accepted standard because of it’s higher quality and neutrality. The DVD community has embraced it.

    The Fairplay DRM is made by a third company and I’m sure that company would be happy to license it.

    Since these johnny come lately music services don’t have a decent iPod to sell, and are not making any money selling music, they will have to be forced to adopt different formats in order to remain in buisness.

    Make the world a better place, run a small application on your Mac or PC and together we can give scientists around the world the answers they need to eliminate Mad Cow, Parkinsons disease and many others.

    Join the Mac Team today I’m signing up dozens every week and doing my part, come do yours. Thanks

  9. The pressure’s starting to bite guys. Check out the stats. Buymusic, Napster and Musicmatch are dropping significantly in their traffic. Napster’s at it’s lowest since release and a long way behind even Musicmatch who are also falling. Buymusic might as well put Tommy Lee back in the rock coffin where he belongs, they’re finished.,,

  10. Man that FUD is so good I want to masturbate to it. Well the streets work both ways.

    But you have to keep the perspective of what is really being said. “Can I be your whipping boy Stevie?”

    Seriously though hasn’t anyone thought of 2 things:

    1. Develop your own DRM and wrap that around AAC, which is the better format, love the super unleaded.

    2. Approached Apple to get Fairplay from them. Sure someone could bring a MS license to them and say, I’ll rip this up and take yours. Its about time for it.

    One way or the other, this rocks.

  11. Gee Rob, who knew you were such a caring, giving sort of guy.

    It’s so kind of you to want to save the PC customer from the effort of installing iTunes on their system, and also to save them the effort of installing that annoying QuickTime software as well.

    You know, if I was a cynic, I’d almost suspect you had another agenda. Thank God you’re not a con-artist like that nasty Steve Jobs character.


  12. Sailfish I have looked all over and can’t find anyplace you can license Fairplay. The closest I get is the Veridisc site and that is so out of date they have lost their DNS to a porno site.

    Apple isn’t being open about this (and why should they?) but I think that they control Fairplay and are leveraging it to harvest the first mover profits. This is great but at some point they should open up Fairplay to other players and lock in AAC/Fairplay as the de facto standard. That way whenever ANY player gets sold, Apple would get paid. Unfortunately AAC itself is more expensive to license than WMA:

    And that is why all the other players are going with it. It is available and it is cheaper. Tag on Fairplay licensing costs and it is really gonna be hard for other players to compete but what choice will they have?

    This is all decidedly M$ish as a strategy but it is about time someone beat them at their own game but with a better product rather than a mediocre one. It is my sincere hope that Apple dominating in this area will help them break the M$ monopoly and re-introduce fair competition to the market place. The winners if this happens will be the consumers.

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