Apple ‘stunned’ that Real broke into iPod with ‘Harmony’

Apple today released the following statement regarding RealNetworks “Harmony” technology:

“We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA and other laws. We strongly caution Real and their customers that when we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real’s Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods.”


MacDailyNews Take: Go get ’em, Apple! To those who would scream about “choice,” you have the choice to buy a Dell DJ and use the Real Music Store as much as you wish. Enjoy your experience. We prefer to choose Apple’s iPod working with Apple’s iTunes Music Store and have found no other legal music service/player combo that even remotely compares to Apple’s solution.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Real cracks Apple’s Fairplay; to sell iPod-compatible songs without Apple’s authorization – July 25, 2004
RealPlayer Music Store announces iPod harmony – July 26, 2004
Test of Real’s new Harmony Technology works with Apple’s iPod – July 27, 2004
BusinessWeek writer: Apple needs to firmly squelch Real’s Harmony – July 27, 2004


  1. even thurrott admitted the lawyers would be getting some work on this one… no one ever said this Harmony was a permanent fixture… well.. Okay.. Real said it would change the face on online music..

  2. When one choice is beneficial and the other choice is not, then there really is no choice. The ability to choose becomes nothing more than an illusion. If we still insist on choosing something that is not in our best interests, then our decision making ability is based on ignorance and not freedom.

  3. While I take Apples side on this one and believe that Real had no right to do what they did, I would eventually like to see Apple license the iPod to perhaps a few other select music stores. True, none of the others are even comparable to iTunes, but people like choice, and as long as they choose to put their music on an iPod, it is good for Apple.

    However, I hope Sony gets a bunch of shit for releasing the Walkman WD2001-k-NDS-2-1000T and only letting it work with the Connect Music Store.
    How is that any different than iPod and iTunes?
    It’s worse, actually. Connect is absolute torture.

  4. If you think the MDN folks are “blindly pro-Apple,” you haven’t read enough of their takes. Perhaps in this case they actually believe company 2 should not break into company 1’s tech because company 2 is flailing and without it, they’ll be out of business soon?

    I agree with MDN’s take.

  5. Ed,
    Yes, in part. A Dell DJ is one choice that we have the freedom to make. If the Dell DJ was never created, would that have limited our freedom of choice? Not really, most of us have not and probably will not ever purchase a Dell DJ. Our choice of purchasing an iPod was in no way influenced by the existence of other inferior products, so there really is no choice to make when there is only one good choice. In this respect, any other choices out there are merely illusory if we are not interested in choosing them anyway.

    I feel this is the same philosophy when it comes to purchasing from iTunes or Real. From iTunes you get (what I consider) a comparable product at a comparable price as that of Real. The only main difference is ease of use and operability. Since I don’t feel there are any substantial benefits from using Real, I don’t really see much of a choice out there. Either iTunes or some inferior alternative. Some people want that choice to make to ensure themselves of their freedom of choice, but if there is only one good product out there, then the choices are nothing more than illusions.

  6. Keefe…

    Actually Sony’s Walkman is even worse than the iPod. The iPod plays multiple formats, where Sony’s “iPod Killer” only plays Sony’s proprietary format. That’s it. That sucks!

    Oh and Mel…

    If you don’t like the pro-Mac commentary on a pro-Mac website (Hint: read the name), then go find a different site.

  7. This talk of ‘choice’ is overrated. No way am I willing to get give up my iTunes/iPod integration. I’ve got one application to handle all my music with numerous playlists.

    The future of choice is to create a way for Apple to license FairPlay and iTunes – to allow other stores to plug-into iTunes. In this manner we might have 2-3 other stores listed in the menu and we choose. The key part is they would all integrated directly into iTunes and the iPod.

  8. I think a firmware update is in order immediately! Go ahead and license your harmony product because it WON”T WORK! I wonder how many dumb companies like Real would actually buy a license for an illegal product? Real is sounding more like SCO who thinks that they own unix yet will never put up the proof to show it. I can’t believe a company would break the law and then try and openly make a product out of it. Then try and license it out to others to do the same? Apple should have a field day with this one. I agree with Mac daily go get’em Apple. iTunes has all the choice I need with a lot more freedom to use my music where and when I want too.

  9. I agree with MDN’s take except for one thing, I just have a hard time believing that MDN has actually acquired and tried other combinations. I certainly haven’t, and I have no desire to. I’ve read the reviews, and I agree with king_alvarez, there really isn’t a choice because there is only one good product combination.

    I also agree with iSteve, choice is WAY overrated. If people were actively pursuing choice, Bill Gates would have significantly less money.

  10. Everyone forgets one vital point in this whole RealNetworks mess and that is: American Business Ethics. RealNetworks has stolen a companies product for their economic gain. What makes it even worse it that they did it after they were refused access to Apple’s technology in the first place. And they are trying to hide behind an “open source” defense when they don’t even offer a Mac version of the software. Most American companies don’t operate this way. iTunes is not a hard application to crack. Microsoft and others could have done it at anytime. What stopped them? Ethics. There are not only copyright issues at stake as well as potential lawsuits and theft of artists copyright laws but the issues of American Business Ethics. Would your company want to let it’s proprietary information be available to a company that operates such as RealNetworks has shown? The reason digital copyright laws seem to be so open (vague) at the time is so that companies aren’t scared away from innovation thru litigation. This case will help to further mold our current digital copyright laws. What people should be furious at is that as Apple says “RealNetworks” hacked their product. Is this the type of company you feel safe paying money to and supporting? Whether you do or not let them know in emails. Lots of email.

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