RealNetworks ‘Harmony’ stops working on iPods but nobody notices for a month and a half

“Apple has made good its pledge to prevent iPods from playing songs downloaded from Real Networks’ Rhapsody online music store,” Tony Smith writes for The Register. “But the discovery, reported on a variety of online news sites, has left users puzzled: just when did Apple make the change?”

“Apple last issued an iPod update on 15 November, but only changed the firmware on two models: the latest, fourth-generation iPod and the iPod Mini. Older models were previously updated on 20 October, just ahead of the release of iTunes 4.7. That would seem the most likely time at which Apple introduced its ‘disharmony’ code,” Smith writes. “That’s bad news for Real – partly because the move limits the company’s ability to sell to iPod owners, but mostly because no one has noticed until now, almost a month and a half later. That suggests that Real’s iPod-owning customer base is rather smaller than it would like.”

“Real said its remains ‘fully committed to providing consumers with the freedom to use the music libraries they purchase from us on different portable audio devices they acquire, both now and in the future,’ so the prospect remains that it will modify its own code to cope with Apple’s changes if possible,” Smith writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple disabled Real’s “Harmony” and nobody even noticed for a month and a half! On the day Apple’s firmware was released, you’d think that at least RealNetworks’ corpulent CEO, Rob Glaser, would’ve set down the Krispy Kreme’s for just a moment to scribble a press release decrying Apple’s affront to “music freedom” and bemoaning the crippling of his parasitic and desperate “Harmony” hack. One question remains, of course: if a third-rate multimedia company’s DRM hack fails and nobody’s listening, does it make a sound?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple’s latest iPod updates render RealNetworks’ ‘Harmony’ songs unplayable – December 14, 2004
Bono-Glaser photo caption contest now open – October 25, 2004
Real’s CEO Glaser: ‘Harmony’ hack legal, Mac lovers are very sensitive to Apple criticism, and more – September 14, 2004
Analyst: Rob Glaser’s ill-advised war against Apple ‘is going to bite RealNetworks on the ass’ – August 30, 2004
Rob Glaser interviewed about achieving harmony with Steve Jobs – August 17, 2004
RealNetwork’s CEO Glaser crashes Apple’s music party – July 30, 2004
Real CEO Glaser: Steve Jobs’ comments on Real ‘not succeeding’ are ‘ridiculously humorous’ – April 29, 2004
NY Times: Real CEO Glaser was close to having ‘iPod’ before Apple, but let it ‘slip through his fingers – April 24, 2004
Real’s CEO Glaser: Apple’s iPod/iTunes combo ‘threatens to turn off consumers’ – April 20, 2004
Jobs to Glaser: go pound sand – April 16, 2004
Real CEO Glaser begs Apple to make iPod play nice with other music services – March 24, 2004


  1. Hey, you guys gotta stop putting Krispy Kremes down like that!!
    I didn’t hear a sound either ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />


  2. Anybody live near Real’s corporate headquarters? Was there any unusual noise recently? Maybe a sonic boom as Glaser fell to the floor?

    I hear Krispy Kreme’s had some troubles recently; they need Glaser to consume as much as possible.

  3. in a related story…
    “Earlier today Krispy Kreme announced that due to a problem they are recalling 15,000 containers of dounuts. In fact, today they swung by Rob Glaser’s house and picked them up.”

  4. I’d like it noted for the record. In all seriousness. Real SUPPOSEDLY has iPods that they test right? I mean, this whole bruha ha over making sure that their music worked on iPods and Real never even noticed it for a month and a half? Don’t they test their songs and their software with the latest updates? What are they using to test their music? 2 doughnuts tied together with a string?


  5. As an iPod owner and a supporter of all apple products I still find it embarrassing the infantile reporting of MDN with regards to Apple’s competitors. I can understand it when it is done by the readers since most of them are perhaps young but the MDN editors must me at least 12 and should know better and possess more journalistic ethics. Let the competition die in their own sword, you don’t have to criticize someone’s food habits just because you don’t approve of their products. Wait… I got this is what I want to say: Grow up MDN

  6. DBS, MDN is appealing to its majority target audience… that’s all.

    Personally, I think it’s infantile not to play with other music stores. It’s music… from an artist… if I can buy from any brick n’ mortar store…

  7. Actually, that was what was funniest about this story–that it took people at least a month to notice. And it wasn’t even Real that noticed! It was a customer who, I rashly assume, didn’t get any feedback from Real so they dropped a note to CNET.

    DBS, I think you have to take the “MDN take” with a grain of salt. They’re trying to be humorous.

    Besides, “Internet Journalism” is the next big oxymoron, right after “Military Intelligence.”

    (So I scroll down and what is my MDN Magic Word? “military” Spooky…)

  8. I think the magic word can be a bit spooky too.

    (This comment added thanks to the magic word “added”) ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”gulp” style=”border:0;” />

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