RealNetworks’ founder Rob Glaser steps down as CEO

RealNetworks, Inc. announced today that founder Rob Glaser has stepped down as CEO. He will remain chairman of the board of directors of RealNetworks. The company also announced that its board of directors has appointed Robert Kimball president and acting chief executive officer. The board also appointed Mr. Kimball to the board of directors.

“After nearly 16 years, I’ve decided it’s time for me to step away from day-to-day operations,” said Glaser in the press release. “I’m grateful to all of our stakeholders – customers, partners, shareholders, and most of all, employees – for the support and commitment they’ve given to RealNetworks. I remain committed to the company and look forward to continuing to serve in my capacity as board chairman.”

“Few people have changed an industry and created a unique experience for billions of people,” said Jonathan Klein, a board member of RealNetworks and the co-founder and CEO of Getty Images, in the press release. “Rob has changed the face of digital entertainment with RealNetworks’ streaming media products. At the same time Rob has had a profound impact on politics and philanthropy. I’m sure he will continue to do this extraordinary work as well as spending time with his wife and young children. We are grateful for all he has done for the company, the industry and employees, and are pleased that he will continue to serve on the board.”

MacDailyNews Take: All of that Microsoft money blown already?

Bob Kimball joined the company in 1999 and has been a member of the senior executive team since 2003. He most recently served as general counsel and executive vice president of corporate development at Real. “In the decade he’s been at Real, Bob has proven to be an outstanding business executive and leader, and under his leadership the company won’t skip a beat,” said Mr. Glaser, in the release. “Our board has great confidence in Bob, and he will be a candidate for the permanent CEO position as part of a formal search process that will begin soon.”

“I look forward to the opportunity ahead,” said Mr. Kimball in the release. “Real has a great team in place, a strong financial position, close customer relationships and fantastic products. We plan to transform Real into a more focused and more profitable company that delivers value to our shareholders.”

Source: RealNetworks, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Inexplicably, Krispy Kreme (KKD) shares are down slightly on the news.


  1. I remember some years ago when Quicktime was in 3rd place behind Real and Windows Media.

    I also remember a time when I needed the free RealPlayer for some piece of Web content, and their website did everything it could to trick me into getting a version I had to pay for.

    I remember all the times Real tried to leach off iTunes with Rhapsody or whatever it was called.

    How times have changed. Real is irrelevant, as it always deserved to be.

  2. @Bubbles,

    I too remember RealNetworks. I love these “where are they now” articles. Real started out as something counter-Microsoft, and then got crushed when Microsoft started taking web media seriously. It sucked when QuickTime was a distant 3rd, but was far superior to either Windows Media or RealMedia. Apple just didn’t have the bizdev that Microsoft and RealNetworks had at the time.

    It’s amazing what RealNetworks had at various points in time and then just pissed away.

  3. I tried to remove RealPlayer from my machine once and found that it was indeed a virus. It kept coming back and inserting itself as the default player. I finally solved that problem and many others by buying a Mac. I’ve never looked back.

  4. A shame there aren’t any more Dunkin’ Donuts in Seattle, but there is a Krispy Kreme about 3 miles south of Real Networks (close to Mariner and Seahawk stadiums). I met his wife one time, she’s hot. The big guy lucked out. Rob never got along with all the other Microsoft execs so he branched out on his own. Got to give him credit for getting out of Redmond early on. Too bad his player never challenged Quicktime, but just as well.

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