Real’s CEO Glaser: ‘Harmony’ hack legal, Mac lovers are very sensitive to Apple criticism, and more

Slashdot has posted 10 questions and answers that they sent to RealNetworks’ CEO Rob Glaser. A few of the Apple-related questions and answers appear below:

Q: Since RealNetworks is all for “compatibility” and getting their stuff to play on the iPod, when do they plan to offer support for Macintosh users in the Rhapsody music store?

Glaser: No plans as of now.

We’re one of the most active Mac ISVs around, with our RealPlayer running on millions of Macs. We also offer our Superpass and RadioPass premium content products, and we offer more than 45 premium downloadable Mac games such as Shape Shifter, Bounce Out Blitz, and Text Twist.

Having said that, since the Mac is such a small part of the overall market, we make practical decisions about what functionality and services we offer on the Mac. So far, offering a music store or the Rhapsody subscription service on the Mac hasn’t made the cut.

Q: Are you concerned at all that Apple might sue Real under the DMCA for basically hacking the iPod to allow compatibility between Real and the iPod? If Apple does do this, what measures are you taking to make sure that the files people buy from Rhapsody will continue to play on their iPod after Apple locks Harmony out using a firmware update or something similar, and would you offer refunds to people with iPods who purchased music on Rhapsody?

Glaser: The legality of Harmony under the DMCA is well established in law. It’s important to understand that Harmony simply added a new way to secure the content we’ve licensed from music companies. We didn’t mess with the locks on any of Apple’s music. The DMCA contains a specific provision enabling companies to create just this kind of interoperability. Take a look at a recent case, Chamberlain v. Skylink, which describes how courts look at this in the real world.

We think it would be extremely anti-consumer for Apple to stop the music by intentionally breaking compatibility with Harmony. In the event that they do, we have a comprehensive plan in place, but it’s not appropriate for me to go into details now. I will point out that Harmony will continue to work for any current iPod user who chooses to have RealPlayer manage that iPod (and who doesn’t use iTunes, a future version of which might be the vehicle that Apple would use to break compatibility).

Q: There’s a lot of spin going on at Real’s new Freedom of Music Choice [freedomofmusicchoice.org] site. Clearly, Real was not expecting such a profound and immediate [slashdot.org] backlash. It must be frustrating [slashdot.org] that Apple gets to be both an underdog and a monopoly at the same time. But despite the feel good claims [freedomofmusicchoice.org] on your Freedom site (did you really write those?), your price drop, reverse engineering, and activism are hardly riling up the public. What have you learned from this?

Glaser: We’re very happy with how our freedom of choice campaign for Harmony has worked. As you know, we sold over 3 million songs in 3 weeks, well beyond our expectations. Moreover, the tens of thousands of users who have bought songs from us and are continuing to enjoy the benefits of Harmony speak for themselves.

It’s certainly true that a small group of Mac lovers gave us a hard time for criticizing Apple. This isn’t that surprising because Mac users are very sensitive anytime anyone criticizes Apple, I guess because they emotionally identify with Apple as the “underdog” versus Microsoft. But for every Mac user who didn’t like our criticizing Apple, there were literally hundreds of Windows users who enjoyed Harmony, including iPod users who sent us their comments.

The campaign was successful because consumers really do want choice. We hired an independent research firm to ask internet consumers about this. 96% of portable device owner said they thought they should be able to move music they bought to any device, which gives us great confidence that we’re on the right side of history.

Full Q&A here.

MacDailyNews Take: Pure PR spin from Glaser; take it for what it’s worth.

43 Comments

  1. “This isn’t that surprising because Mac users are very sensitive anytime anyone criticizes Apple, I guess because they emotionally identify with Apple as the “underdog” versus Microsoft.”

    Hmnmm… reading this page:
    “Clarification: I wish for the coronary to occur as quickly as possible, but the death to be as slow and painful as possible. I can’t stand that fat, fscking, self-serving, lying, cheating, sweaty, greasy bastard. Sosumi.

    On further reflection after calming down a bit”

    “Rob Glaser is a big fat loser. Have another donut, Rob. Nobody cares what you struggle to think, you fat, retarded fsck.”

    “No moron, it is because we have a great appreciation for a company that can actually innovate and we hate it when companies with no imagination make a lame attempt at copying them.”

    “We’re also very sensitive to total bullsh*t too Rob. You sound a lot like Dan RAthER with your lame ass spin job…”

    I bet Glaser eats ’em so fast, he shits the glazed donuts intact. What an asshole.

    how ironic

    Comments like may not be all Mac users, but they read as being emotionally driven (mostly indignation and anger). This is the portion of mac users which RG is referring to. Comments like these add credence to his claim.

    However, there are many sensible mac users on this board as well who may have opinions but don’t make personal attacks and don’t base their beliefs on what a company (Even Apple) says, and rather, on logic and their own use of the said services or programs.

  2. i don’t get what the big deal is. So reals music works on the iPod. cool. we’re supposed to get all pissed off because they are giving us another option? I don’t get it.

    Anyway, iTunes is my choice. I figure everyone else’s too. Right. sooooo, again, what’s the problem?

  3. Still waiting for the ability to play Real Audio files in QuickTime. So I don’t have to install Glaser’s poorly written adware in order to listen to internet content from people who just don’t get it.

    After all, it’s about freedom of choice, isn’t it Rob?????

  4. “Comments like may not be all Mac users, but they read as being emotionally driven (mostly indignation and anger). This is the portion of mac users which RG is referring to. Comments like these add credence to his claim.”

    Give it a rest A-flower. This site is therapy by us to bash PC users for trying to continuously make us out to be inferior due to our small market share. Nothing more, nothing less. Quit trying to ruin our fun.

  5. Just gotta love the duality of even the first statement by The Glazed One…

    Out of one side of his mouth he says RealPlayer and their other software is installed on “millions of Macs” while out of the other side of his mouth he says porting Rhapsody to be available to those very same “millions of Macs” doesn’t quite yet “make the cut”. Huh? How is that a “practical decision”?

    Not that I’d even be remotely interested in Rhapsody in the first place, just wondering how that dazzling logic makes ANY sense whatsoever.

  6. F*ck being sensible A-Flower. Sensibility goes out the window everytime this fat ass Glaser opens his pie hole. Some people don’t take well to lies and bullsh*t and they don’t have to show any sensitivity toward those that do lie and bullsh*t their way through life either.

  7. I agree Atomic Flower, it’s a pity we get so many infantile comments on here. There’s a big difference between wit and childishness. A lot in what Glazer is saying about Apple/Mac/iPod is interesting – but it seems this is the wrong place for interest.

    Must be bedtime.

  8. Lame excuse for not giving Mac support. I would never use Real for buying music. Especially from someone like Glacer. I see no benefit buying from his service even if it was compatible. The iPod is the number one player so why would I want to buy anything else. The price is not any higher then any of the second class players out there. Sometimes it is even cheaper. Way more choice of music on ITMS as well.

  9. “since the Mac is such a small part of the overall market, we make practical decisions about what functionality and services we offer on the Mac. So far, offering a music store or the Rhapsody subscription service on the Mac hasn’t made the cut.”

    So then he has to understand that since Rhapsody is such a small part of the overall online music market, providing iPod compatibility it doesn’t make the cut for Apple.

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