Business 2.0 has published their annual “101 Dumbest Moments in Business” list for 2005 and, surprise, surprise, RealNetworks and CEO Rob Glaser score three of the top ten places, numbers 7 through 9.
“7. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. In April, RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser—seeing his online music store struggling to compete with Apple’s iTunes because it’s not compatible with the iPod—e-mails Steve Jobs suggesting that he open the iPod to other purveyors of digital music. The e-mail is immediately leaked to the New York Times, which interviews a surprised Glaser. ‘Steve is showing a high level of fear,’ he says,” Adam Horowitz, Mark Athitakis, Mark Lasswell, and Owen Thomas write.
“8. If you can’t beat ’em, and you can’t join ’em, encourage people to whine about ’em. Still peeved that Apple won’t allow the iPod to play downloads from his online music store, Glaser launches an online petition urging Apple to open up. He quickly pulls the petition offline when he discovers that most of the signers have left strident pro-Apple comments,” Horowitz, Athitakis, Lasswell, and Thomas write.
“9. If you can’t beat ’em, and you can’t join ’em, and you can’t get people to whine about ’em… put out some half-baked software that forever alienates potential customers? Not backing down, Glaser offers a software hack that allows iPods to play songs purchased from Real. Apple blasts its rival for exhibiting ‘the ethics of a hacker’ and warns iPod users that future updates to its software will render the Real songs unplayable. But it turns out that if Real is acting like a hacker, it’s not a particularly talented one: Several Real customers report that the software fills their screens with ads and crashes their computers. In November an Apple software update blocks the hack,” Horowitz, Athitakis, Lasswell, and Thomas write.
Also, never one to disappoint, Bill Gates outscores even Glaser to land at number 5 for this:
5. For more nostalgia, you can always check out your legal bills from the DOJ antitrust lawsuit. “Microsoft has had competitors in the past. It’s a good thing we have museums to document this stuff.”—Bill Gates, in a talk at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.
Bike lock maker Kryptonite nails the number one slot for the dumbest moment because bloggers revealed that the locks they’ve been selling for 30 years can be easily picked with a Bic pen and Kryptonite made a big mess of things with denials and their subsequent exchange policy. The top 30 places on the list can be seen without a subscription.
On the flip side, “The Smart List,” a mixture of 25 companies, executives and products, profiles excellence and innovation including Apple Computer for marrying the iPod to the rock band U2. “In a competitive and fierce market where executives are fired, products fail and companies crumble on a daily basis,” added Josh Quittner, editor of Business 2.0, “the ‘Smart List’ represents the companies, products, and executives that have defeated the odds and risen to new levels of originality and innovation.”
The list starts here.
MacDailyNews Take: Much like the “Friends of Krispy Kreme” mailing list, this kind of list is custom-made for Rob Glaser. He must be quite upset that Gates scored higher.
Related MacDailyNews articles:
Microsoft’s ‘Switch’ rip-off (and more) makes ‘101 Dumbest Moments in Business’ list – March 18, 2003
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
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
Real CEO Glaser: ‘iTunes is only going to be used for playing songs you bought using the iTunes store – January 16, 2004