RealNetworks has apparently been hard at work reverse-engineering Apple’s proprietary Fairplay Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.
“Tomorrow, without Apple’s authorization, RealNetworks will start to give away software that will allow people to buy and download songs from its online music store and then play them on Apple’s popular iPod portable devices in addition to those that use the Windows Media Player format and RealNetwork’s Helix format,” Saul Hansell reports for The New York Times. “This will be the first time any company other than Apple has sold songs for the iPod.”
“When users buy songs from RealNetworks, they are downloaded to their hard drive in a format that RealNetworks controls. Using the company’s new software called Harmony that is being introduced in a test version tomorrow, the songs can be copied on up to five portable devices – including those from Apple, Creative, Rio, Samsung and others,” Hansell reports.
“Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research, said this technology might give a temporary advantage to RealNetworks’s music store, which has a very small share of the market so far. But he thinks Microsoft will also find a way to sell songs to be downloaded on iPods,” Hansell reports. “RealNetworks tried to win acceptance for its formats, Mr. Bernoff said, but in music it has failed. ‘The most important battle is between Apple and Microsoft,’ he said.” Full article here.
Allison Linn reports for The Associated Press, “In an interview Friday, RealNetworks chief executive Rob Glaser said he did not know how Apple would react to the new technology… Glaser said the new the system works by essentially translating the various anti-piracy technologies, to make the players’ systems compatible with RealNetworks’ system. RealNetworks said it was not concerned that the system would be illegal. ‘We are making it so that consumers can buy music once and play it anywhere,’ Glaser said.” Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: “Harmony” must be the name of the anchor that Real is desperately throwing out in a vain attempt to catch the side of the rim as they circle the bowl.
Related MacDailyNews articles:
RealPlayer Music Store announces iPod harmony – July 26, 2004
Apple’s QuickTime vaults into close second in media player market share – June 11, 2004
Spurned by Apple, RealNetworks cozies up to Microsoft for portable music – April 29, 2004
Real CEO Glaser: Steve Jobs’ comments on Real ‘not succeeding’ are ‘ridiculously humorous’ – April 29, 2004
NY Times: Real CEO Glaser was close to having ‘iPod’ before Apple, but let it ‘slip through his fingers’ – April 24, 2004
Apple’s refusal to license Fairplay DRM has nothing to do with past ‘OS Wars’ – April 22, 2004
Real’s CEO Glaser: Apple’s iPod/iTunes combo ‘threatens to turn off consumers’ – April 20, 2004
Jobs to Glaser: go pound sand – April 16, 2004
Real: ‘We don’t understand why Steve Jobs just doesn’t want to open the iPod’ – April 15, 2004
Will Apple’s ‘go it alone’ strategy turn iPod into the next Mac? – April 15, 2004
RealNetworks urges Apple to license Fairplay DRM; wants to form ‘tactical alliance’ in online music biz – April 15, 2004
Real CEO hopes for Apple iPod opening – March 31, 2004
Apple should not let any other online music services work with iPod – March 24, 2004
Real CEO Glaser begs Apple to make iPod play nice with other music services – March 24, 2004
Real CEO Glaser: ‘iTunes is only going to be used for playing songs you bought using the iTunes store’ – January 16, 2004