Real CEO Glaser calls Apple ‘deceptive’ with iTunes Music Store

“At the iHollywood Forum Digital Living Room conference taking place in San Mateo, Calif., today, [Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks] called the Mac maker [Apple Computer] deceptive for not explicitly telling customers that iTunes songs can’t be transferred easily to other devices,” Michael Kanellos reports for CNET News. “‘It doesn’t say anywhere that you have to go through 57 different hoops to play a song on a different device,’ Glaser said. He also added that Jobs, one day, will have to think in terms of subscriptions (like Real), rather than selling individual songs. ‘The day that they introduce subscriptions is the day that Steve Jobs has the brilliant revelation that subscriptions are a good thing,’ Glaser said.”

Full article, complete with Kanellos likening Glaser to a “sperm whale” (we think – but, hey, if the fluke fits…), here.

Okay, last bit first: the day Steve Jobs thinks subscriptions are a good thing is the day Apple will introduce subscriptions to iTunes. Glaser is a “real” genius. What’s the alternative, that Jobs will introduce subscriptions to iTunes when he doesn’t think it’s a good idea?

MacDailyNews Take: Okay, now, “Apple Computer is ‘deceptive’ for not explicitly telling customers that iTunes songs can’t be transferred easily to other devices?” From Apple.com’s main iTunes Music Store (iTMS) webpage (http://www.apple.com/itunes/store/), “You can burn individual songs onto an unlimited number of CDs for your personal use, listen to songs on an unlimited number of iPods and play songs on up to five Macintosh computers or Windows PCs.” From Apple.com’s main iTunes webpage (http://www.apple.com/itunes/), “Auto-Sync with iPod. With an iPod and iTunes, it’s a cinch to sync: fast, simple and effortless. The new Autofill option even automatically syncs just enough music for your iPod shuffle. Got photos? Now you can copy them to iPod Photo and view them on the go or on a big-screen TV.” So, what’s “deceptive” about those statements? They clearly state iPod photo, iPod, iPod mini, and iPod shuffle will work with iTMS. Those statements clearly do not imply that any old music player from Tom, Dick, and Harry will work. Why should Apple have to list every minor music device that doesn’t work with the market-dominating online music store?

[UPDATE, 11:20 PM, ET: Credit “otter” below for calling our attention to the fact that iTunes’ “Help” menu features an entry titled, “Connecting your iPod or other music player” which clearly states, “iTunes works with several music players, but songs purchased on the iTunes Music Store only play on iPod. For information on which players are compatible with iTunes, see this article on the Apple Support website: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93548 .” The online article clearly states, “To play AAC and AAC Protected songs, your iPod must have iPod Software 1.3 or later installed. Not all digital music players can play AAC songs and only iPod can play AAC Protected songs. Songs you import from an audio CD using the AAC format can be converted to MP3 files, which you can burn to MP3 CDs or play on third-party digital music players. Songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store are encoded using the AAC Protected format and cannot be converted to MP3 format. You can burn them to audio CDs and play them in consumer audio CD players.” We also noticed a link from that page to the online article from Apple, “MP3 player compatibility with iTunes for Windows” which states, “iTunes for Windows can transfer a variety of audio and music files to iPod, including MP3 and AAC encoded files. Other MP3 players do not work with iTunes for Windows.”]

As for Real and their RealPlayer do they have one of the greatest or worst reputations online in regards to deceptive practices or lack thereof? And have you ever read this article about RealNetworks?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Real CEO pitches to half empty room at tech symposium; Apple draws standing-room-only crowd – February 25, 2005
RealNetworks’ CEO Rob Glaser grabs 3 of top 10 spots on ‘Dumbest Moments in Business 2005’ list – January 31, 2005
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

82 Comments

  1. All the bad mouthing you hear from Rob Glaser of Real and Chris Gorog of Napster directed toward Steve Jobs and Apple (and iPod customers from Gorog) says something.

    Desperation.

    Apple is at 300-million downloads and counting. NO ONE is divulging download numbers from other music services (too embarrassing?). Since the market has figured out a good reason to buy from Real or Napster in big numbers, the execs feel they’ll get some press (and free advertising) by slamming the big dawg; Apple, Jobs, iTunes.

    It’ll work.

    They’ll get some business from that subscription model and from the bad mouthing. The real issue is “how much” business will they get. Enough to become profitable and take a chunk out of Apple’s hide?

    Probably not.

    Regardless, I’m sure that both Real and Napster do NOT want Apple to provide an option to rent music (subscription model), which I’m sure Apple could do if the market requires.

    How long would it take the iTunes Music Store to become the world’s largest subscription service? A week? I’d try it with iTMS though I won’t bother with Napster To Gouge.

    Even the record company execs are smart enough to know it’s better for a customer to pay Apple 99-cents and then burn the song on a few CDs for friends because they still get 99-cents for the song. With Napster, one need only pay the first month (or nothing for the trial offer) and a customer could burn night and day and the record companies get nothing.

    The other issue for the recording companies is, “how big does Apple get and what does it mean?”

    Tera Patricks
    Mac360

  2. MDN: please re-post a link to the caption contest.

    Could we perhaps make this a weekly feature? Best caption – either by votes, or by MDN judges – wins an iTMS gift certificate.

    I suggest we start with a picture of Enderle (of the vaunted Enderle Group) and see who can come up with the best ‘natural disaster’ caption.

    mike k. (CEO of the mike k. Group)

  3. “It doesn’t say anywhere that you have to go through 57 different hoops to play a song on a different device.”

    Umm, it also doesn’t say that unicorns staff the Apple tech support line, because that’s not true either.

    Hoop 1: Burn a CD in iTunes.
    Hoop 2: Rip CD to WMA-formatted files.
    Hoop 3: Copy WMA files to off-brand Wintel Plays-For-Shit device.
    Hoops 4-57: ???

    Oh, and Rob: I’m looking at the same hoops if I buy songs on Napster or MSN and want to play them on my iPod. Might be nice to acknowledge that. Or pout like an eight-year-old. That’s always impressive in a CEO.

  4. hmmm, what’s this unlimited burn to cd thing? my iTunes just told me 7 times to CD is the limit. not that I care, I can rip my backup back on to another comp if I so desire.

  5. ‘The day that they introduce subscriptions is the day that Steve Jobs has the brilliant revelation that subscriptions are a good thing,’ Glaser said.”

    Don’t remind SJ for that, he might do it and then you Mr. Glaser are out of business.

  6. Wow – went and read that article (actually, there are several posts) at jogin.com.

    Fascinating reading, for sure, and makes me glad that I have a Mac – I only have the free player, and I’m very glad that Real can’t insert itself into my machine nearly as insidiously as it can into a pc. After all, there are those few and far-between times when a site unfortunately only provides content for Realplayer, and nothing else. I avoid it otherwise, at all costs.

  7. dellMeAgain, try changing a song on the playlist and get another seven burns. If you would have read the terms, you can burn individual [B]playlists[/B] of DRM’d music seven times. Don’t spread FUD.

  8. Not explicitly Ron?

    From the iTunes Help Center:

    iTunes works with several music players, but songs purchased on the iTunes Music Store only play on iPod.(emphasis mine) For information on which players are compatible with iTunes, see this article on the Apple Support website: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93548.

    Seems pretty explicit to me!

    Oh, and dellMeAgain, that’s 7 burns per unmodified playlist.

    See, kids, Reading Is Fundamental!!!

    Magic Word: ever. Will Rob Glazer ever get a clue?

  9. notatotalsucker,

    For the same reason Microsoft is still around: some things are so evil that they simply refuse to die. Either that, or someone with very deep pockets is continuing to funnel money into Real to keep it afloat.

    MDN, love the ‘parody photo illustration’. When I saw it, I nearly blew beverage all over my monitor. Guess I shouldn’t drink and surf at the same time…

  10. dellMeAgain,

    You can only burn the same play list 7 times. Switch a song or two around and continue to reburn to CD. The feature is designed to slow down your ability to burn CDs.

    Love the donut photoshop picture. God he is a swollen freak.

  11. What simply amazes me is how simple it could be for these other music services to really market themselves as “iPod Friendly”. It’s so simple, really. “Buy our songs for 99¢(89¢/79¢, whatever), and use our built-in burning software to burn a personal copy of your music (smart to do this for backup purposes, too), then import the songs into iTunes and upload to your iPod.”

    Maybe instead of fighting against the iPodTsunami, some of these music download services should learn how to ride a surfboard with style. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Of course, the irony is that they will never do such a thing. Glazer, Gorog, Gates and co. will never see that they are never going to out sell or out class Apple, the iPod, the iTunes Music Store, or Fairplay.

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