Analyst: Rob Glaser’s ill-advised war against Apple ‘is going to bite RealNetworks on the ass’

“It’s hard to see what exactly Real hopes to accomplish with this campaign. Don’t get me wrong. This is important stuff. Americans spend about $30 billion a year on music, and while downloads make up only 2 to 3 percent of that total, digital music is expected to one day be part of everybody’s life. Real wants to get a good chunk of that business. What makes no sense is how the company is going about getting it — by positioning itself as a groovy liberator, a provider of cheap music, freedom, and choice,” Thomas Mucha writes for Business 2.0.

“Real is trying to wage a grassroots battle to shame Apple into working with it. The company posted an online petition titled ‘Hey Apple, Don’t Break My iPod,’ which urges Apple to open its proprietary music copy-protection technology to RealNetworks. But the petition backfired, attracting little interest from anyone besides the Apple fanatics who write obscenity-filled screeds. Real comes off as anything but a hero,” Mucha writes.

“‘Real doesn’t understand it’s fighting a brand battle,’ says Bradley Peacock, president of Chicago-based marketing consultancy Peacock Nine. RealNetworks, with its complicated downloads and annoying pop-ups, has never been adored, and it is going up against an aspirational brand that is. (That’s why people wear the pocket-size device outside their clothing and use the distinctive white earphones even though other earbuds offer better sound quality.) ‘Apple offers a superior product addressing genuine consumer wants and needs,’ says Drew Neisser, president of New York-based Renegade Marketing. ‘Real was never beloved by its users, only tolerated. Even by presenting itself as a bargain brand, it can’t overcome its inherent limitations. A stinky cheese smells regardless of how little it costs,'” Mucha writes. “Real is waging a grassroots battle where there is no grass… ‘At the end of the day, starting a price war is going to bite RealNetworks on the ass,’ Peacock predicts. ‘Why would you want to Wal-Mart your brand?'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The sooner RealNetworks finishes circling the bowl, the better. Will anybody even care when RealNetworks ceases to exist?


  1. I told you Glasser was a frigging drama king and sacrificing his company and employees in a revenge against Apple after threatening Apple to “Open the iPod or else” which he was publicly humiliated in the press. (His memo to Apple was leaked)


    Nobody is making money in the online music business, just Apple selling iPods. Real is taking a big loss and the RIAA will be sending a fat bill one day and Real will declare bankruptcy.


  2. Yeah, we are not impressed by Real’s behavior… but…

    Has anyone really spent any open minded time looking at the non-QT media players for the Mac? Real 10 (beta, yes) is not a piece of crap at all. Actually, all RV9 and RV10 looks pretty darned good. Radio streams over RA sound very decent for the bitstream.

    Now, fire up your Windows Media turd. You will see slow performance, and huge files and bitrates required, to not look like sh1t. Streams online sound completely horrible. A 16k stream on Real sounds great for talk radio, whereas the same show on Windows Media uses a 32k stream and sounds like an aging cell phone in a tunnel.

    Sure, use them on windows and it’s totally different. Windows Media (no surprise) looks pretty decent, and Real is a whale piece of crap full of RealSpam, RealPopups, RealMarketing, and RealBloat.

    *shrug* Screw em for what they want to do with digital music and for trying to make Apple look like a bad guy, but you know, their player doesn’t suck. On a Mac.

    Windows Media Player, however, is the huge piece of crap. Let’s call it like it is.

  3. freedom of choice for their shitty software meant windows only, yet itunes is available on both platforms….

    I know cool and Rob, you are not cool…

    Even in the windows world people hate the real player interface and how it blicks constantly on the start bar when it wants to be updated, how they try and make you sign up for the Plus version and make it impossible to cancel. Remember when a program called Gator was actually helpful and now its “Spyware”, congrats Real you have become the “Gator” of media players.

  4. Hahahahaha. This is a battle that no one cares about anymore. Real lost. Apple won. Enderle needs to get over it. The war is over. I’d be more concerned about Microsoft’s entry into online music.

    Microsoft ready to crush Apple’s iTunes, iPod party?

    Steve Jobs & Real’s CEO Rob Glaser get into food fight.

    See, Enderle? It’s over.

  5. not to defend his tactics…but the real purpose IMHO is that he wants to sell more Rhapsody subscriptions. That’s where the money is for music on line…or that’s the word coming out of Napster/MS/REAL

    he’s gotton so much publicity and garnered a lot of traffic…the 49� deal will end, but how many more Rhapsody subscriptions is he going to get because of the loss leader/free publicity…that’s MONTHLY income.

    with MS about to release a way for people to move music from subscriptions to portables…that’s the attack plan for the competition to iPod/iTMS. it may or may not work but there has to be some logic to REAL’s approach and public battles with Apple.

  6. Real does suck. Downloaded and tried the latest version a week ago. Wanted to listen to a NFL game, signed up for the trial, went through all the crap… logged in… yadda yadda yadda… finally got to DL the link to listen to the game…. dead link to a game that was in the 1st quarter. Figured it might just be the one team… tried EVERY game what was currently playing… like 3 games….. everyone was a dead link. Canceled the trial subscription right there. Guess I will have to kill cable and get the dish and buy NFL Sunday Ticket. I am not afraid to spend money to get a good product. Sorry Real, but your product sucks.

    I hate to say it, but Windows Media Player is better then Real. That is saying a lot IMHO.

    Hope Real is paying more then .49� so they lose money on each song… that will help the death spiral

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