Apple disables RealNetworks music on iPod photo | iLounge News


Apple disables RealNetworks music on iPod photo

Apple’s iPod photo contains updated firmware that blocks songs downloaded from the RealNetworks music store from being played on the device, according to CNET “The move could render tunes purchased by many iPod owners unplayable on their music players. For the last four months, RealNetworks has marketed its music store as the only Apple rival compatible with the iPod, following the company’s discovery of a way to let its customers play their downloaded tunes on Apple’s MP3 player. Apple criticized RealNetworks’ workaround, dubbed Harmony, as the ‘tactics…of a hacker,’ and warned in July that RealNetworks-purchased songs would likely ‘cease to work with current and future iPods.’”

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So what?  Real is just trying to jump on the success of Apple.  Apple has no reason to “allow” Real-DRM’ed files to play on an iPod. 

Real has been irrelavant for five or six years ago.  They had an entire markey to themselves and destroyed it with an inferior product.  Maybe they should try creating a good product instead of whining about everything.

Posted by m. sherman on December 14, 2004 at 4:39 PM (CST)


Wow, once again a major corperation uses their monopoly in one part of the company to increase sales in another!

To be perfectly honest, why is it that whenever MS does this for the OS market, everyone and their grandmother is up in arms, but when apple does it with their ipod its “apple has no reason to…”. 

Well, MS has no reason to “allow” Netscape/Opera/Firefox/Mozilla/etc to run on their OS.
SAME argument.

Posted by keaner on December 14, 2004 at 4:47 PM (CST)


Duh, no one sees Apple as evil because Steve Jobs is God.

Posted by Taphil on December 14, 2004 at 4:56 PM (CST)


Apple has no reason to “allow” Real-DRM’ed files to play on an iPod.

How would you feel in a few years time if a new Apple patch disabled the ability of iPods to play back plain mp3s?

I happen to think that if I have paid for and bought a device then I should be able to modify it to persuade it to play whatever the hell I want, whenever I want. Real offers more options and choice for iPod users, but threatens Apple’s mnonopoly.

I happen to think that a program that can let me move WMA, RA, MP3, and AAC files to the iPod is a great idea. That presents a way to unify my collection and manage it easily in one convenient interface. Media Center does this, but only by transcoding the files and so losing some quality during the conversion. The Real solution manages to avoid some of the quality loss.

How is that convenience not a good thing for iPod owners? What’s good for Steve Jobs’ bank balance is not necessarily what’s good for you. I think you’re making a mistake by conflating the two.

no one sees Apple as evil

Apple would love to be a huge, evil, monopolizing megacorporation because that’s in its DNA - it’s how it’s always behaved. Hardware and software lock-in, assimilation of popular 3rd-party utilities, and insanely tight tight control over press leaks. The only difference between MS and Apple is that MS became wildly successful doing just this while Apple just kind of muddled along, until now it’s such a tiny player that hardly anybody notices its diktats.

Posted by Demosthenes on December 14, 2004 at 5:29 PM (CST)


Isn’t it funny how when a company finally puts out something so elegant and user-friendly that everybody wants one, but it has it’s limitations, purposeful or not, then all of a sudden that company is an “evil corporation”?  Instead of b——ing about how the iPod won’t play .wma or .rm files, why don’t people get together, and build their own device that plays whatever it’s able to.  If Apple won’t let it play .aac, then make something better than .aac and push Apple out of the market.  stop b——ing about it, being lazy and use innovation to push out those “evil corporations”.  Forcing these corporations to conform in every way will only kill innovation in the long run.

Posted by Lindan on December 14, 2004 at 6:29 PM (CST)


Most posters want this to be about the corporations struggling against each other. It’s NOT. Whenever there are battles over format, it’s the end-users who get the shaft. Why shouldn’t people be able to buy content on Real and play it on their iPods? In all your back and forth over which company is cool and which is has-been, you miss the consumers, and we get shafted in all this. Format wars screw over the regular user. Why should we have to be experts in file compression formats to listen to digital music? Why shouldn’t whatever we download work in whatever player we use? The alternative is just a mess.

Posted by leertracy on December 14, 2004 at 6:53 PM (CST)


The iPod Photo has been out for over a month, and only now have people noticed Real Harmony tracks don’t work.

Shows how many people care…

Posted by Xenex on December 14, 2004 at 8:05 PM (CST)


Shows how many people care

Alternatively, it shows how many people have bought the photo iPod.

Posted by Demosthenes on December 14, 2004 at 9:12 PM (CST)


All you Apple haters just don’t get it, having 1 media format is the way to go (it’s about the music dude!), it reduce ALL cost related to supporting numerous incompatible comparable formats (whether it’s soft or hardware), look at the cost of DVD players now as a typical example, imagine they had 2 or more (yes I know about the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray format war but 1 will HAVE to win in the end), the cost would be higher and cost manufacturers more to build - and all that would stall innovation on things that matters and make the consumer pay MORE.

All apple is trying to do is to ensure that they win this format war (since they kicked off the revolution) - instead of having WMA/Real and others (who need them all? and why don’t we just aggree on one), and it would make all our lives easier.

It’s not about Apple screwing the consumers but trying to keep the iPod as the most POPULAR player that plays the most POPULAR format/s (MP3 and ACC), and ultimately the format for digital music, when too many players are involved are only going to slow down this process via unnecessary support issues. Why do Apple makes computers that just work? not because they want money - if they did, they’d follow MS footsteps and licenced from day one. But because they care about the EXPERIENCE for the CONSUMERS. So the guy above who said Apple is evil or whatever is just plain ignorant and a troll.

This has nothing to do with free market, when Apple take over the format because of their superior hardware and software, I assure you they will licence it and live off the fees and moving on to the “next best thing”.

You get what you paid for, and isn’t that why you bought an iPod in the first place and not some other player? Support the one that really innovates is high in my books, and not some copy-cats, eg. MS and Real. Think about it… think!

Posted by hokka on December 14, 2004 at 9:37 PM (CST)


having 1 media format is the way to go

We already have one universal music format: mp3. We’ve had it for nearly 15 years now.

But the mp3 creators, a German company called Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, became increasingly snarky about licensing and fees. In response, a better bet is now Ogg Vorbis: it’s open-source so no single company controls it to the detriment of others it. It can be wrapped with DRM if a company so chooses. It also scores higher on blind listening tests than either AAC or mp3.

Apple has refused to create an open licensing scheme for FairPlay (its DRM wrapper for AAC). Therefore companies are not free to release their music in this format escept by sucking up to Apple and earning brownie points. This thus mitigates against independent music, alternative distribution channels, and a level playing field for majors and minors alike. By playing favourites and dealing mostly with the biggest record companies, Apple is acting as a typical evil monopolist.

And by behaving so evilly, Apple is forcing other companies and people to resort to weird runarounds. Real is clean-room reverse-engineering FairPlay. Hymn is hosting its FairPlay unwrappers on servers in India.

trying to keep the iPod as the most POPULAR player that plays the most POPULAR format/s (MP3 and ACC)

This is a red herring. Allowing the iPod to play back Real AACs does not hurt the iPod “experience” in any way. If you don’t have any Real AACs then you won’t even notice any difference. before the iPod could playback iTMS tunes it could play mp3s. After iTMS launched it could still (for the time being) play mp3s. But deliberately crippling the iPod to lock out other formats is all about denying iPod owners the choice of how to use and when to listen to their music that they have legally purchased

I am amazed that you can defend such an obviously evil action. It’s like something Sony would do on their crappy people-hating players.

Posted by Demosthenes on December 14, 2004 at 10:17 PM (CST)


haha, Demo, I can see your points, but man as much as you hate companies and pro-open-source, you need to see we don’t live in a free world, open-source ONLY works in software, and nothing else because it requires no real labour but intellectual of a few who has too much time on their hands (who’s gonna guarantee continue relatively painless instant support? No one.)  – or we’d be seeing FREE iPods if that’s the way the world should go towards and only then can I not argue with you that companies don’t have their own agenda.

And all your independent/non-main stream artist you talk about are not working for free either, well, not before they get signed by anyone that cared. They work so hard and trying to get recognition, it’s the hope of getting popular one day – or people would not pursuit any art form (what’s the point if it’s only for me to enjoy? It would be called a hobby). It’s the biggest hypocrite/ironic statement of the whole music industry, you know, the young band wanting to stay “underground

Posted by hokka on December 14, 2004 at 11:13 PM (CST)


Apple criticized RealNetworks’ workaround, dubbed Harmony, as the ‘tactics…of a hacker,’

One question I have is how did Apple disable Real’s Harmony tracks?
Did they reverse-engineer the Real tracks to achieve this, thereby doing exactly to Real what they criticized them as using hacker tactics.
I could be wrong, maybe someone with a programming background could offer their view.
Is Apple now the hacker, plus hypocrites?

Posted by snappy on December 14, 2004 at 11:17 PM (CST)


No. Apple’s DRM AAC files are proprietary. Apple owns the software to put DRM on an AAC file and the software to play those files. They haven’t given anyone else permission to use that software for commercial purposes. The fact that Apple disabled the Harmony files means Apple has tweaked their software to work only with the Apple-created files and not the reverse-engineered ones. Yes, Apple probably had to reverse-engineer the Harmony files but that’s a moot point because they own the original technology.

Is it right that Apple won’t open it up to other companies? No. Is it legal? Yes.

Posted by shaun3000 on December 14, 2004 at 11:47 PM (CST)



You have no idea what you’re talking about.  Do you really think the format war is because of tech support issues?

The only tech support call I could see Apple getting is when a user wants to record in MP3, but Apple has iTunes set to AAC by default.

Posted by Talking Madness on December 15, 2004 at 12:23 AM (CST)


Apple Lovers-

It’s obvious that Apple is making shrewd business decisions, but the part I don’t get is why you guys are so gung-ho about being suckered/limited by Apple.

Of course, it’s your choice to buy AAC files, but it shouldn’t be mandated.

What if Adobe decided to make it so that PDF files no longer opened on Macs.

The logical end of the debate is that if Apple is willing to limit the use of legitimately purchased songs on the iPod, how far do you think they are from limiting the iPods ability to play plain old MP3’s (many of which are not legally purchased)?

Posted by Talking Madness on December 15, 2004 at 12:31 AM (CST)


Real’s Harmony technology convinced me to buy an iPod, since I already had 200 purchased tracks from the RealPlayer Music Store.  I have a friend who wants to buy two 40GB iPods.  Perhaps I will tell him to buy something else.

Posted by Galley on December 15, 2004 at 12:39 AM (CST)


Who the fuck is Jobs ?

Posted by Cityhunter on December 15, 2004 at 3:12 AM (CST)


“Sadly we live in a capitalist world”. 

Why is this sad?  Creative people like to be compensated for their work.  There is nothing wrong with that.  You take away the incentive to excel and you end up with mediocrity.

Posted by Quoth_the_Raven on December 15, 2004 at 7:24 AM (CST)


“Demo, I can see your points”

You must have better eyes than me, because I can’t see any point to Demo’s postings.

Posted by Quoth_the_Raven on December 15, 2004 at 7:27 AM (CST)


<i.I can’t see any point to Demo’s postings.</i>

No point? It amazes me that so many people are willing slaves to a single format. Seriously, have you considered Sony’s players? They don’t even let you play regular mp3s. You might be much happier then.

What Apple is doing is *exactly* what MS did in the 1990s with Windows - continually changing the OS to block its competitors’ access, extacting baksheesh from favoured companies to work on Windows, and generally creating a tied antitrust system.

MS was finally found guilty of criminal conspiracy to distort the market. What makes you think Apple won’t be if it continues? Those laws are there to protect us, the consumer, and to deliver us choice instead of locking us into a single manufacturwer’s whims for ever and ever.

It amazes me that there are so many willing fools. I ask you again - what difference does it make to you personally if your iPod can play non-Apple DRM’d AACs? If you don’t buy any of them, then who is being hurt? How is your experience different? If you do buy them, and then suddenly you can’t play them anymore, then think now about who is being hurt?

Posted by Demosthenes on December 15, 2004 at 8:30 AM (CST)

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