RealNetworks caught between Microsoft rock and Apple hard place

“Digital media firm Real Networks has started the global roll-out of its latest audio and video player, Realplayer 10, but is it good enough to secure the company’s future? If one believes the hype, RealPlayer 10 is the software to end all digital media woes. For consumers, it is the first free player that can play all major online media formats, from Apple’s AAC (iPod) and Quicktime formats to Windows Media, MPEG-4, MP3 and many more,” Tim Weber reports for BBC News.

[MacDailyNews Note: We’re unsure what Weber means by putting (iPod) after mistakenly calling AAC “Apple’s.” Perhaps he means AAC with Fairplay DRM from Apple’s iTunes Music Store? We couldn’t test to see if the new player can play protected AAC songs purchased from iTMS as there doesn’t seem to be a Realplayer 10 for Mac OS X.]

Weber reports, “And for Real Networks the launch comes at a crucial time, caught as it is between the Microsoft rock and the Apple hard place, both of which are pushing hard into the company’s market place. Microsoft media player keeps gaining market share, while Apple in recent months has managed to grab headlines with its iTunes service. However, speaking to BBC News Online, Real Networks chief executive Rob Glaser is bullish: ‘If having 350m users worldwide is between a rock and a hard place, then it’s a very nice situation to be in.'”

[MDN Note: Too bad it isn’t 350 million paying customers.]

Full article here.

22 Comments

  1. With WMP included on new boxes as part of Windoze it counts toward market share. If people had to choose which one would be on their machine through downloads the picture would look very different.

  2. If RealPlayer 9 is on the same computer as Quicktime or iTunes, it can play m4p files. The software “uses” the DRM from the Apple apps. RealPlayer 10 should have this feature also.

  3. If Real was serious about it’s business it wouldn’t ignore potential markets like that of Linux. Instead of feed the one who bites you (Microsoft/Windows), you should open up the media player market for platforms like Linux. Yeah, sure there’s a RealPlayer app for Unix/Linux, but it’s limited in form and function!

  4. WMP is a better media player than quicktime player on windows
    WMP on mac sucks

    Quicktime technology is good, but the player is not as comprehensive as other media jukeboxes out there. They should integrate quicktime player into iTunes-Make a Video Playlist right beneath the iTMS button, where you can watch all your videos and even buy music videos/other media online(as bandwidth increases in the near future). This will pave the way for a VidPod that makes sense, because it will automatically sync videos, and treat them in the same way(but separate them from) as music.

  5. the problem with WMP is that it is on all new windows machines, so most will use whats on the computer. I have a friend with a new XP box, he spent over three hundred bucks on computer speakers but he uses WMP to play music. Duh-oh. I told him it was like putting in a yugo engine in a corvette, but he doesn’t have broadband yet so downloading itunes probally won’t happen for a while. He doesn’t know much about computers so software like that(WMP) seems like the only choice he has, education is key for most(but he still thinks Macs are bad,,, that rumor just doesn’t die)

  6. “Digital media firm Real Networks has started the global roll-out of its latest audio and video player, Real player 10, but is it good enough to secure the company’s future?”
    The headline is really misleading as to suggest that “good enough” is a factor in the media format/players war. The only factor is that WMP is part of the OS. No matter how good the competition’ product is, it has no chance to compete against this major advantage Microsoft has. Everyone’s aware of it. Only the EU is doing something about it. So frustrating!

  7. I have to differ with an above post about WMP vs Quicktime on a Windows PC. My experience has always been that Quicktime runs better than WMP on any of the Windows PC’s I have used. On sites that have choices between the two, the Quicktime file is always “cleaner” and better looking – even,on a Windows PC.

    IGN.com offers sample media files to preview video games. But to access the Quicktime versions, you need to be a subsriber, because only their subsribers get the higher quality content (both media and text). Of course, I’m sure the Windows users only care that they can get the free, lesser quality file. And wmv files are crap.

    And I know that WMP used to “phone home” to Microsoft-I don’t if it does anymore. Microsoft only cares about one thing, and it ain’t quality.

  8. ‘If having 350m users worldwide is between a rock and a hard place, then it’s a very nice situation to be in.'”

    what a clever ‘analogy’ lmfao..dope… he just leaves the analogy hanging

  9. from best to worst, audio players:
    1. iTunes
    2. winamp
    3. WMP
    4. RealPlayer

    however, quicktime remains a backwards technology.
    major incompatibilities: multichannel audio (ac3, dts), mpeg2, vob
    not-so-important incompatibilities: realplayer content, windows media content
    major drawbacks: user-unfriendly (apart from the standard window) – it took me half an hour to figure out how to encode content in Pixlet.

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