Mac users shut out of Real’s Harmony hack?

“As promised, RealNetworks released a beta version of its Harmony software, which has created a firestorm because of the promise of iPod compatibility. The technology press has been filled with stories about Real’s claims and Apple’s sharp rebuke,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Mac News Owl.

“But none of the stories I’ve read, and I’m sure I haven’t read them all, mentions anything about the fact that only Windows users are getting the software. A Mac version doesn’t appear to be available, nor does the page describing Harmony explain any of this. But here are the nasty details you won’t discover unless you try it for yourself. Click on the Download link. On a Windows box, it’ll take you to the genuine download area where the promised software is available. On a Mac, you will only discover the same beta version of RealPlayer 10 that has been available since June, with no mention whatever of support for the iPod,” Steinberg writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Most probably, 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.

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


  1. Real has had their proprietary players, but no one cared – or cared to support it.

    Apple is different because they designed something that was far superior to anything else on the market. So people are pissed because Apple did it right? Because Apple showed an elegant, exciting alternative to illegal downloads. Or should we just say that since Apple spent the tens of millions of dollars to deliver their fully integrated package that they should let everyone have it?

    Why not tell Real and the others to spend the time. money and effort to make something better? Wouldn’t that serve consumers more than wanting Apple to give away something Real is too cheap and lazy to build?

  2. Go for it APPLE!

    REAL are just a bunch of hackers illegally breaking into other people’s code – they might as well try and hack windows while theyre there!

    This is a desparate action from a very desparate company that knows it’s on borrowed time!

    I give REAL 3 years max before they go under.

  3. matthew24, I’m not sure of the basis for your comparison between M$ and Apple. In this case, Real contacted Apple to legitimately license FairPlay, but Apple decided not to. Real then decided to work on the hack instead, since legitimately licensing it was no longer an issue. And Real are saying that they will license the hack to other companies, effectively sidelining Apple from its own technology. What exactly are you seeing that is wrong with Apple’s behavior, and what would you have them do otherwise?

  4. re:Solar…

    “Then why is NO ONE USING IT if it’s is sooooooooooo good???”

    I’m not sure, why don’t you ask the 97% of computer users that don’t use the Mac OS? Just because it’s better doesn’t mean everybody uses it.

  5. Well, I for one don’t give a damn what Real has because I’m not going to pay a subscription fee of 9.95/month for the same thing I can use for free with iTunes. And with that I’m sure that it’s going to work with my iPod AND is integrated into OSX.

    Also, can anyone REALLY hear the difference between 192kb and 128? Puh-lease! Go troll somewhere else, matthew24

  6. gc brings up a good point. Real is stealing, plain and simple.

    Look at it like this. Real comes over to Apple’s house to borrow Apple’s brand new shiny technology. Apple says no. So Real breaks into Apple’s house takes the technology for itself and then sells it to others.

    I want to see how you react if someone breaks into your house, steals a prized possession and then sells it.

  7. rep: Matthew24

    Would you care to explain why Apple is unethical.

    Did they reverse engineer (hack) someone else’s technology? Doesn’t Apple or any other company for that matter have the right to their own technology they created?

    Matthew24, what if you made a successful piece of software and I came although, blatantly reverse engineered it, called it my own, and licensed it others. I’m sure you would be upset.

  8. Chad Cox. It really depends on what you listen to, and why you listen to music.

    Apple would probably have sold higher bitrates if its main shortcoming on the iPod wasn’t the battery. Imagine the uproar if it’s battery only lasted 4 hours, due to 256kb encoded music.

    Believe it or not, you can train your ear.

    Some people can’t tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke, does that mean that we shouldn’t be limited to one or the other?

    What exactly did Real steal here? Customers? That’s called competition.

  9. Why is someone a troll here whenever they disagree with Apple’s position on something?

    Here is why Real has done nothing wrong:

    They have found a way to allow their DRM to interact with Fairplay. It doesn’t circumvent Fairplay or cripple it. It fools the iPod into thinking that the Real DRM is Fairplay. Sounds reasonable to me.

    They also have every right to license this. Lets say I produce a new header for a Mustang that improves the performance and gas mileage. I have every right to license my technology to anyone who wants it. Ford has no say in the matter.

    Apple has no say in this either. Yes, they can update the firmware. But this is a futile effort. AOL did this for years with AIM and eventually just gave up. People will always find a way around it.

    Now with Real wanting to license their technology, Apple needs to rethink their position. They wanted total control when they should have been licensing Fairplay from the get-go. It’s no one’s fault but Apples.

    Apple needs to remember what they said. The iTMS is there to sell iPods. Because its starting to make a little money, Steve and company have forgotten the reason for its existence. License Fairplay to other music stores. Let them be compatible with the iPod. It will only sell more iPods in the long run.

    I still think the iPod is a short-term money maker anyway. Eventually, like all other electronic gadgets, the digital music players will become commoditized and cheaper ones based on flash memory will become the big sellers at very small profit margins.

    Just think, if we didn’t have to deal with DRM, the only issue would be file format, which is another problem all-together.

    Yes, I have an iPod. The headphones suck. In fact, I think they’re shot. Bass is horrible sounding. And I hardly use them. My iPod is mainly used in my car. I’m using the iTrip so sound is fairly good although its been so long since I listened to a cd in my car, I might be fooling myself.

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