Real CEO Glaser calls Apple iPod owners thieves

RealNetworks’ CEO Rob Glaser has been interviewed by Kate Bulkley for The Guardian.

The Guardian: One could look at Real and say you are becoming the Sun Microsystems of players, i.e. you don’t have the critical mass to make sure you get the right content and the right number of users.
Rob Glaser: I think that is mathematically not true. I don’t think it is going to be a winner-takes-all game. I think we’ll have good share and Microsoft will have good share, and there may be one or two others.

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, one “other” springs immediately to mind.

The Guardian: There are lots of other places for people to go to get downloadable music, so how will Real Music stand out given it is coming out relatively late in the game?
Rob Glaser: We know that in any of these consumer service businesses we don’t have a birthright to be the leader, but in the US we are number one in terms of music subscriptions with competitors Napster and Yahoo! And then there is Apple, which is slightly different.

MacDailyNews Take: “Slightly different,” as measured in billions of dollars.

The Guardian: Apple’s model is to make money on the sale of devices, using music to drive that – and it is working.
Rob Glaser: Apple has gotten away with this approach to a greater degree than we thought they would. The music industry has made a mistake, not by agreeing to Apple’s fixed-price level (79p per track), which is what gets all the attention, but by allowing Apple to create devices that are not interoperable. If you want interoperable music today, there is a very easy solution: it’s called stealing. The average number of songs sold for the iPod is 25, and there are many more songs on iPods than 25. About half the music on iPods is music obtained illegitimately either from an illegal peer-to-peer networks or from ripping friends’ CDs, which is illegal. But it’s the only way to get non-copy protected, portable, interoperable music.

Full interview here.

MacDailyNews Take: We congratulate The Guardian’s Kate Bulkley for conducting a nice interview with a subject who most likely only replied in between bites of Krispy Kremes. Best Interview Line of 2006 (so far): “The Sun Microsystems of players…” By the way, the reason Glaser concentrates on subscriptions is because he couldn’t compete with Apple’s iTunes in à la carte song sales. If Steve Jobs had a forklift, he could have literally handed Glaser’s ass to him, instead of just doing it figuratively. So, Glaser calls iPod owners thieves and proves that he can’t even be original with his foolish, unproven, and just-plain-wrong statements: Microsoft CEO Ballmer: ‘Apple iPod users are music thieves’ – October 04, 2004. Oh, here’s an interesting one, too, for those who prefer facts over the fantasies of a loser: Study shows iPod owners significantly less likely to steal music than the average person – January 13, 2006.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “jim” for the heads up.]

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Related articles:
Real’s Rob Glaser calls Apple’s Steve Jobs ‘pigheaded’ – December 06, 2005
Real makes Rhapsody web-based, opens limited service to Mac users – December 05, 2005
Real’s Glaser: Apple iPod+iTunes ‘will lose out because of the share of market forces against them’ – October 29, 2005
Apple’s ‘pure genius’ will soon make iTunes’ portal the ‘number one destination on the Internet’ – July 26, 2005
Study shows Apple iTunes Music Store pay-per-download model preferred over subscription service – April 11, 2005
Real CEO Glaser calls Apple ‘deceptive’ with iTunes Music Store – March 07, 2005
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
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004
RealNetworks ‘Harmony’ stops working on iPods but nobody notices for a month and a half – December 15, 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. iTunes is number 1 fat boy so you better get over it. Calling anyone who uses an iPod a thief sure isn’t going to win over any business for you anymore than your crappy subscription service does now Glasier man.

  2. So iPods are not interoperable.
    If they were interoperable they would do that by their users stealing music.
    Since they’re not interoperable iPod users obviously don’t steal music.
    They do though since not all music on iPods is purchased online therefore it must have been downloaded in some illegal fashion or copied from friends, who of course are likely to be thieves as well so they obviously didn’t even buy the CD themselves anyway.

    His own logic doesn’t even fit together.

    Personally I’ve never downloaded any song from p2p – apart from the themes to pigeon street and various other tv shows from my youth. I don’t have them on my iPod though, haven’t listened to them since and even if I could have bought them wouldn’t and would have just gone without. I’m not justifying it – just qualifying it.

  3. Rob Glaser is an idiot, his software is an offence to my brain and you have to pay a subscription every year to keep using it.

    I could stop buying music from iTMS, never connect my Mac to the internet again and my music would still play 10 years from now.

    Can’t say the same about Real, can we?

    Get Real, Real. BTW, when are you going to get flushed down the toilet?

  4. And people with RealNetworks players have never burned a CD (their own, or borrowed), or downloaded a song from a peer-to-peer network to get music onto their devices?

    All of the music on my iPod I’ve paid for – having bought the CD’s over the last two decades, and now bought from the iTMS.

    It’s easy when your failing to sell your product to blame others for that failure (just ask Bill and MonkeyBoy…)

  5. While its not legal, sharing music with friends often ends with the friend buying the original CD. Unfortunately, music these days is expensive for what you actually get.


    I have mostly legal songs in iTunes. I have ripped some friends CD’s but I would not have purchased them.

  6. I have 346 songs on my Nano, about 50 of which were downloaded from iTMS. The rest are from my own CD/LP collection. I didn’t copy from anyone else. I’m no thief. Rob is only trying to divert attention away from his own troubles.

  7. Where is that 25/iPod figure from? Is it based on number of purchases from the iTunes store? I’ve only purchased a dozen or so tracks from the iTunes store, but have ripped my entire CD collection.

    Besides, I don’t need an iPod to illegally download music (moron).

    Just curious.

  8. Stop your gobbling. He’s right and you know it. It’s not necessarily relevant, but it’s accurate.

    Safe bet that half your music wasn’t purchased in any fashion by you. Those of you who say you’ve never copied music from a friend or d/led illegally, that’s okay.. there’s someone else out there who’s never purchased legally and they balance you out.

    I’ve got no idea what his point is, but he’s telling the truth.

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