RealNetworks issues statement about Harmony Technology and ‘creating consumer choice’

RealNetworks, Inc. is delighted by initial consumer and music industry support for Harmony. Compatibility, choice and quality are critically important to consumers and Harmony provides all of these to users of the iPod and over 70 other music devices including those from Creative, Rio, iRiver, and others. RealPlayer Music Store provides the highest sound quality of any download music service. That’s why so many consumers have welcomed news of Harmony. Consumers, and not Apple, should be the ones choosing what music goes on their iPod.

Harmony follows in a well-established tradition of fully legal, independently developed paths to achieve compatibility. There is ample and clear precedent for this activity, for instance the first IBM compatible PCs from Compaq. Harmony creates a way to lock content from Real’s music store in a way that is compatible with the iPod, Windows Media DRM devices, and Helix DRM devices. Harmony technology does not remove or disable any digital rights management system. Apple has suggested that new laws such as the DMCA are relevant to this dispute. In fact, the DMCA is not designed to prevent the creation of new methods of locking content and explicitly allows the creation of interoperable software.

We remain fully committed to Harmony and to giving millions of consumers who own portable music devices, including the Apple iPod, choice and compatibility.

MacDailyNews Take: The war is on! Wonder which company will win? We also wonder if and when Apple will update iPod software causing Real’s Harmony technology to stop working with current and future iPods. Don’t buy a song from Real for your iPod unless you are prepared for it to become unplayable on your iPod sometime in the future.

Again, to those who would scream about “choice,” you have the choice to buy a Dell Digital Junkbox 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.


  1. Real might be in the right from a legal point of view, but from a business and common sense point of view I think they have stepped in it with both feet.

  2. Honestly, other than the legality-challenging reverse-engineering processes used by Real to overthrow the DRM, what other negative implications does this situation provide?

  3. Real has no fight here – even if they are allowed to continue, it’s not going to benefit them at all, in the long run.

    Maybe a few people who own iPods will goto that store, but the majority will not even notice – and purchase startight from iTunes.

    What a joke Glasner is ….

  4. I hope Apple creates a must-install iPod firmware updater that kills off this “Harmony” bullshit. If you don’t install the iPod firmware update, your songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store won’t play on your iPod. Do it Apple, I’m ready to download!

  5. My assumption is that if you buy a song from Real and it gets “converted” using Harmony can you then populate that song into iTunes via your iPod? Or, does it have to stay within Reals software?

  6. “If you don’t install the iPod firmware update, your songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store won’t play on your iPod.”

    And if you don’t let us change the locks to your house you can’t live there! LOL!

  7. According to AppleInsider, Apple has already assembled an engineering team to disable the hack. I don’t think it will be that easy but it will get done. I don’t expect a lawsuit however — that’s too risky and unnecessary.

    The funny thing is this — Glaser views the iPod connection as critical for Rhapsody to succeed. It’s not — the iPod comes with iTunes and iTunes puts iTMS in your face. He’s already lost if his customers buy an iPod. He’s either confused or desperate. Real cannot succeed unless it dumps a good-enough iPod competitor in its customers’ laps and links it to Rhapsody.

    Anyway, for years I’ve entertained the thought that Real is going down. He’s right when he says Apple’s real competition will be Microsoft, even if that’s a long way away.

  8. Actually Less, the only way Real can succeed is to sell the company. They are a has been in this market and either need a strategic shift in their business plan or just need to sell of the shop.

    Glaser is a buffoon for trying this route b/c it makes them look desperate, not innovative!

  9. Yes indeed Glaser knows that Microsoft will be Apple’s true competition and that is why I suspect this whole stunt is an audition for a part in Microsoft’s upcoming music media play. I’m sure MS is watching this performance closely.

  10. Don’t you think if Real could hack this technology once, they could do it again when Apple delivers a new iPod updater? I mean, there is not a software out there that can’t be hacked somehow right? With a will there’s a way? Will this become a test of wills and will iPod owners like myself now be subjected to downloading and iPod updater every three days because Apple is trying to stay ahead of Real’s hacks? Don’t think real doesn’t have the gall to keep this up either…they will. What else do they have to do?

  11. I think it’s really sad that Apple has to fight with someone for control of their OWN PRODUCT.

    Regardless of whether you side with Apple, or with Real, this should never have come to be. I don’t think Microsoft would have even done this.

    If you want support for Real’s Helix DRM, ow Windows Media, or anything else, you should use Apple’s feedback to voice your opinions, not a hack.

    Another question is: Has ANYONE ever wanted to use a different music player before this incident? If not, why now??

  12. > you have the choice to buy a Dell Digital Junkbox and use the Real Music Store as much as you wish

    I thought iPod was about music… a la “rip, burn, mix” not iTMS file formats. Gimme a break Stevie Wonderful. Mr. Jobs wants us to have a “digital life” but also wants to tell us how to do it.

    Hmmm… the robots “iRobot” had the same idea. People don’t like being told how they should run their life. How fitting that SJ recently brought up 1984. How Orwellian.

    I bet if they ever bring video to iPod you’ll only be able to play pixar movies.

  13. This is an act of economic terrorism on Real’s part. It should not be rewarded.

    What advantage does another store offer to an iPod owner? Selection and price is the same. Higher bit rate AAC? Perhaps. How long will it take Apple to match that? Hold off and get the same thing from iTMS in short order.

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