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?

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