RealNetworks’ CEO Rob Glaser grabs 3 of top 10 spots on ‘Dumbest Moments in Business 2005’ list

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. wink

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


  1. Glaser is a clown, but the “Krispy Kreme” remark is a low blow. There’s plenty to mock about his management blunders and his crappy company. Let’s keep it collegial here.

    The Thin Man (really!)

    MagWo is “list,” as in “Let’s see how many errors of Rob Glaser we can list in 2005.”

  2. “In November an Apple software update blocks the hack.”

    Let’s not forget that no only did Apple update the iPod software to block the hack, no one even noticed for how many weeks. Not even the few journalists who had committed themselves to whine about the iPod’s “closed” system.

  3. Glaser is a tool.

    (This post brought to you by the Magic Word ‘wish.’ Glaser can only WISH that someday his company could be half as successful as Apple.)

  4. LOL Loki. That review was written in Nov 2002 and at the end says:

    “With over two years of development time left, don’t be surprised if the final Longhorn version bears little resemblance to what we see here today.”

  5. Oops, still, It sounds to me like that was about the time that they started trimming the OS back, so by now they’ve probably removed everything that would have made it different from what was displayed there.

  6. Come on guys. You have to feel sorry for poor Glaser. He really wants to use the awesome iPod in the open but he can’t until it uses Real format music. He’s tired of walking around in drag with his high heels and long blond wig just to use his iPod. Everytime he hears someone laughing it makes him NERVOUS and he’s beginning to twitch alot.

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