Real’s online petition for music ‘freedom’ backfires bigtime

A selection of recent comments from the first 333 signatures on the “Hey Apple, Don’t Break My iPod!” petition to Apple Computer to which RealNetworks has linked on their so-called “Freedom of Music Choice” website:

Dear Apple, Your company has long stood for innovation and open competition. Wasn’t it Apple that ran the famous Super Bowl ad encouraging consumers like us to stand up for our right to make our own choices? We’re asking that you do the same now and support the right of your own customers to make their own choices about where they buy music for the iPod. We want Freedom of Music Choice! Don’t lock us in to purchasing digital music from one source. That’s bad for competition. It will stifle innovation. And it will slow the adoption of digital music devices like the iPod. Do the right thing. Stand with us for Freedom of Music Choice! Sincerely, The Undersigned:

333: “When a company comes along that has a better sense of design and usability than Apple Computer, then I will consider using their service instead of iTunes. Until then, the prettiest and most efficient method wins. It’s iTunes all the way, a no-brainer, especially on Mac.”
319: “Real sucks and I’ll continue to use my iPod with iTunes Music Store exclusively, thanks.”
318: “Hey Real, this is nothing more than a two-bit jerry rigged hack.”
307: “This is a damaging & embarrasing site for your company. If I were you I would abandon this ‘campaign’ idea & take a look at why Apple commands such high levels of customer loyalty.”
304: “You’re not dead yet Real? You suck, your software sucks and your days are numbered. Have fun losing this one Real.”
302: “The iPod already supports tons of formats. If I want to purchase music online, I can do it with the best experience for syncing to my iPod with iTunes. Why would I want to use your tool which is inferior? That’d be like using Windows!”
284: “The iPod isn’t broken, and neither is the iTunes Music Store, which is the ONLY music store available to the Macintosh platform as well as serving the WinTel platform. If Real, just like MusicMatch, Wal-Mart, and every other service were interested in “choice”, wouldn’t they want to provide service to ALL platforms?”
282: “The iPod is perfect as it is. I had a choice when it came to Music Players, and it was the iPod. I had a Choice when I decided to buy online music or not, and I CHOSE the iTunes Music Store. As far as I’m concerned, the iPod and the iTMS are the best of the best, and no other music store or player even comes close.”
281: “Apple can make the experience more consistent and reliable, and innovate faster, when it controls all the components. What happens when 1000 different companies make all the pieces – you get Windows, where things are supposed to work, but don’t.”
275: “I actually prefer the synergy of Apple’s iPod and iTunes. I can play several formats on my iPod, including mp3 files. This feels like Real is simply trying to grab a chunk of Apple’s success and offering 49 cent songs seems like a desperate measure to me.”

It goes on and on, some are more, err, “colorful” than what we’ve chosen to highlight above. See for yourself here.

UPDATE 11:01 am ET: RealNetwork’s “Freedom of Music Choice” website has now removed their link to the online petition.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s the matter Mr. Glaser, you like to promote your so-called “freedom of music,” but you don’t like freedom of speech?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
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
Apple ‘stunned’ that Real broke into iPod with ‘Harmony’ – July 29, 2004
Analyst: Apple must not ‘sound anti-consumer’ in the face of Real’s ‘Harmony’ – July 29, 2004
RealNetworks issues statement about Harmony Technology and ‘creating consumer choice’ – July 29, 2004
The Motley Fool: Real’s Harmony ‘is a slap in the face for Apple’ – July 29, 2004
Mac users shut out of Real’s Harmony hack? – July 30, 2004
Forbes writer: ‘bad vibes aren’t likely to stick to Apple’ over Real’s Harmony mess – July 30, 2004
RealNetwork’s CEO Glaser crashes Apple’s music party – July 30, 2004
RealNetworks launces ‘Freedom of Choice’ campaign with song downloads for 49 cents – August 17, 2004
RealNetworks to debut ‘iPod-as-padlock’ ads – August 17, 2004
Text of ‘Hey Apple, Don’t Break My iPod! Petition to Apple Computer’ – August 17, 2004
Rob Glaser interviewed about achieving harmony with Steve Jobs – August 17, 2004
RealNetworks debuts replacement ‘freedom petition’ omitting comments – August 17, 2004


  1. Congratulations everyone. The petition entries and article posts were so hard on Real that they removed ALL REFERENCES TO THEM from their site. They were great, too. I just hope the REAL shareholders got a chance to see them.

    Where’s our freedom of speech?

  2. My favorite comment:

    Guess what Real, your new website sucks, your idea of freedom of choice music sucks, and most importantly – this petition sucks. Have a nice day.

  3. Freedom of Choice? But it seems they don’t like freedom of speech, I thought this website was supposed to be some sort of “community” site. Yet they are afraid of what the community says by removing peoples ability to comment on it in anyway.

    It was a pretty lame facade to begin with, but now it should be clear to the most ignorant person that the site is nothing more than Real’s Corporate propoganda.

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