Forbes writer: ‘bad vibes aren’t likely to stick to Apple’ over Real’s Harmony mess

“Earlier this week Real stunned the digital music scene with the announcement that its software, ‘Harmony,’ would allow its customers to play songs purchased on Real’s Rhapsody digital music download service and play them on an iPod or other player,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for Forbes.

“One would think Jobs and Apple would run the risk of looking like a villain opposed to consumer choice and innovation. And while that argument may have some merit, the bad vibes aren’t likely to stick to Apple because of the iPod’s pop culture status. Glaser and Real–right or wrong–are more likely to end up looking like the unpopular kid bitter about not being invited to the cool kids’ party,” Hesseldahl writes.

“Appearances do matter. Apple should beware looking like it’s too jealously guarding the door to the iPod party, and should ready a contingency plan under which companies backing other formats, like Real, can join the party, but only under terms that Apple lays out. It won’t hurt Apple one bit over the long term. The market demands openness and flexibility, and Apple, of all companies, should have learned this lesson by now. There was a time Apple owned the personal computer business. We all know how that turned out,” Hesseldahl writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If iPod holds a significant share of the market, there is no reason to let anyone into the party, as long as Apple’s iTunes Music Store offers similar content to the other stores. And iPod does hold quite a significant share of the market. This is not a matter of developers having to choose which platforms to support, as it was with the Mac vs. PC. The developers in this case are the musicians (in most cases shackled to the music labels). Encoding a song into AAC/Fairplay is just as easy as encoding in WMA. Musicians don’t have to rewrite each song for AAC or WMA. iPods demand AAC/Fairplay from an online music store (they also play MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, AIFF and WAV formats). And consumers seem to be demanding iPods. Sorry, Real.

Related MacDailyNews article:
RealNetwork’s CEO Glaser crashes Apple’s music party – July 30, 2004


  1. I disagree. Real is halfway towards having the same format as Apple–they already use AAC. If Apple can convince Real to use Fairplay, then they’ve got a big ally in the format wars. Apple shouldn’t let Real backdoor a way onto the iPod, but they should figure out a way to work together on this.

  2. This is the ‘Real’ Ron Glaser back with an update.

    First off, who is this idiot claiming that were not cool? Again, I stress that the iPod was Real’s technology before Apple stole our blueprints before we had a chance to patent the technology. Ask Steve Jobs he knows the truth.

    Second, Real offers the best music system hands-down. Apple’s isongs music store is nothing but a copy of our superior software.

    You Apple crybabies need to get a life. You can’t stop the ‘Real’ train that is coming straight at you.

    Sorry about harmony not being supported for macs. You deserve it because your CEO is a smelly arrogant punk who deserves a slap in the face. I’ll decide to open it up one day when I feel like it, AFTER we take over the online music business.

    Have a nice day losers.

    p.s. try a computer with a ‘Real’ operating system. Mac os x is dead in a few years anyway

    Ron Glaser
    CEO Real

  3. hairbo, I agree with your opinino. I don’t think Apple should keep the iPod closed however, if they are to open it up they need to license Fairplay, on their terms, and make sure these “backdoor” intrusions are defeated early. Otherwise they will look like a big bully not sharing his toys. Further, although the MSN music store is still supposedly coming soon (August I read), if Apple were to license Fairplay to Real now they would have an even greater leg up on Microsoft when the format wars REALLY get started!

  4. LOL I love it when people come on here trying to impersonate others. It must be great not to have a life! Oh, what I would do with all the free time…

  5. LOL I love it when hypocrits come on here acting so self righteous. It must be great not to have a life! Oh, what I would do with all the free time…

  6. “The market demands openness and flexability” well, the market is open. There are hundreds of different Mp3 players out there.

    They all have their own OS. You can’t choose a different OS for any of them.

    They all use their own brand of DRM’ed music. Until Harmony came along you couldn’t use a different brand of DRM’ed music on any of them.

    iPod owners made their choice when they bought their Mp3 player. They got an iPod, iTunes and iTMS. It’s a package deal.

  7. Apple a villain. Real Networks is the one who is pirating technology, calling it their own and implementing it. Anyways how is Apple limiting consumer choice. They have the same music, the same prices. Earlier Real said something to the extend of “you not apple should be the ones who deiced which music goes on the iPod,’ at what point did Apple say what can go on the iPod?? They just control where PROTECTED music can come from. By request of the Music Companies. Now that Real has hacked Apple technology what is to stop some little nerd from going into Real’s offices, steeling the information, and implementing it into little hackie program and releasing it on the net? What real is saying is “It’s okay to copy and reverse engineer other people’s products as long as it still works basically the same”. Just because it isn’t used to strip the AAC of DRM Protection doesn’t mean the information they obtained is used in that way. What is to stop one of Reals’ employees of using the technology the found for their own use. Has Real required any of their employees to sign contracts. If so what right does Real have to control the information they obtained? Is isn’t their right to control the information in the first place. It’s the right of Apple so even if they did internally control what they discovered by reverse engineering it… what right do they have? So real is in no now legal way able to control what they have discovered. Only it’s implementation into the Harmony can be controlled. I don’t care if this will benefit anyone, the way they went about it is wrong.

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