Real admits to possible Apple legal threat | iLounge News


Real admits to possible Apple legal threat

Real Networks has disclosed that its Harmony technology puts the company at risk of legal action from Apple. The company’s Harmony translation software enabled songs purchased from the company’s music store to play on iPods.

“If Apple decides to commence litigation against us in order to prevent interoperation with its products, we may be forced to spend money defending their legal challenge, which could harm our operating results,” the company said in an SEC filing this week. “Although we believe our Harmony technology is legal, there is no assurance that a court would agree with our position.”

Real also said Apple will mostly likely “continue to modify its technology to break the interoperability that Harmony provides to consumers” and that it “may no longer work with Apple’s products, which could harm our business and reputation, or we may be forced to incur additional development costs to refine Harmony to make it interoperate again.”

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Boo friggen hoo Well isn’t that too bad for Real. They knew what they were doing wasn’t right and now they have to pay the repercussions for it.

Posted by Wil on August 10, 2005 at 1:01 PM (CDT)


Exactly. Looks like they’re playing the victim part to gain sympathy because of the big bad computer company. I guess we’ll have to see when they stop being polite, and start getting real. Not sure where that came from.


Posted by narco on August 10, 2005 at 1:30 PM (CDT)


If they know it’s wrong, and they know that Apple keeps modifing it to stop them from using it, why do they keep doing it? Because it makes them money. Real is horrible.

Posted by Bill on August 10, 2005 at 2:09 PM (CDT)


i, for one thinks that this sucks for consumers…since we are the ones who are losing options in buying our music.  i mean, what will happen when apple raises their prices for songs from 99 cents to $$$##.##?

If there is no diversity in the market, maybe we truly all will be ipod zombies (with nothing in our wallets).

Posted by tetherah on August 10, 2005 at 2:17 PM (CDT)


it is your choice to buy and ipod in the first place if you dont like it go sit on it some where else buddie(tetherah) 


Posted by BigP on August 10, 2005 at 2:34 PM (CDT)


Phil, go get an education.  That “If you don’t like it, go to <fill in the blank>” attitude is just ignorant.  I already chose to buy an ipod a long time ago.  And so now it’s too late, so your argument doesn’t make sense with me. The big companies are making these decisions which are limiting our choices and options, so eventually, we will have to pay whatever they decide to be the cost of a song.  So look who loses. 

“it is your choice to buy and ipod in the first place if you dont like it go sit on it some where else buddie(tetherah)


Posted by tetherah on August 10, 2005 at 2:43 PM (CDT)



Nobody is forcing you to purchase music on the ITMS, you can easily just go the a store and pick up the audio you want. If they raise thier prices you can show your dislike for that by NOT buying their product. This is an issue about another company directly trying to hack the ipod software to play songs that it doesn’t support.

Posted by Bill on August 10, 2005 at 3:31 PM (CDT)


Okay, thanks Bill for your educated response.  Yeah.  I know that much, I got off topic, I guess I am just overheated in the brain from Phill.  If they raise their prices, maybe I’ll revert to downloading illegally.  I should get back to work now. Have a nice day.

Posted by tetherah on August 10, 2005 at 3:35 PM (CDT)


Hey in any case iPod users have good alternatives to iTMS, right now i deliberatly spread my money 3 ways between iTMS,, and, the latter two give me unprotected mp3. OK nothing works as sweet as iTMS but the other two do stuff itms does not yet sell, they treat me like a mature adult, i can get stuff itms has yet to touch my monthly 40 song $9 sub at emusic is the best thing i ever spent my money on, got all the Lemon Jelly albums and now collecting the complete Stax singles… the best thing as a mac user I am loosing no sleep not being able to deal with the darkside wmp or real

Posted by iPodista on August 10, 2005 at 4:23 PM (CDT)


Real’s “admission” is just a statement in an SEC filing disclosing potential lawsuits which might have a material impact on the corporation.  All SEC filings are phrased pretty much like this, and every public corporation of any significance has a lot of such items to report.  You can’t read this much into it: it doesn’t actually say anything about what the merits of the suit would be or whether one would be filed.

Posted by JimG on August 10, 2005 at 5:06 PM (CDT)


“Although we believe our Harmony technology is legal, there is no assurance that a court would agree with our position.

Posted by Joshdude on August 10, 2005 at 6:10 PM (CDT)


I just don’t like when people get that cocky and stupid attitude about “Don’t like it don’t buy it.” People ALWAYS want choices and there they are; but now daddy Apple may start losing some money so let’s defend it just because I own and iPod or want to make the brand exclusive.
I hope people get more choices to get music for their iPods.


Posted by MaLo on August 10, 2005 at 6:30 PM (CDT)


I actually think it would be a very noble and intelligent thing for Apple to let the audio files sold by another company be compatible with the iPod. It’ll be beneficial to both companies, not to mention promoting Apple’s crystal clear, “ne’er do wrong” image.

If they don’t allow the software, then it might usher in an era where each music store is only compatible with a certain player, so that either Apple will have a total monopoly, or eventually, another music store will come along that will beat Apple and then no one will want iPods anymore. If everything stays compatible with each other, then it lets true competition exist.


Posted by Anamarie on August 10, 2005 at 6:57 PM (CDT)


Apple provides a superior user experience with the intergration of iTMS and iPod.  Nobody else comes close.  Opening it up to half-a**ed implementations like Real would only serve to dilute the experience.  Those that are whining because iPod doesn’t support the other services will also be whining that the intergration is “not like it used to be” if they do chose to support other services.

Posted by The Raven on August 10, 2005 at 7:20 PM (CDT)


OMG. It’s an SEC filing, people. They probably have a line in there about the risk to their business if California slides into the sea.

JimG appears to be the only one on this thread who gets it. I blame ipodlounge - er, ilounge - for getting giddy like a schoolgirl over non-news and publishing it without the context that might actually educate its readers.

Posted by rogermexico on August 10, 2005 at 7:29 PM (CDT)


For Apple to sue Real to keep the platform closed might bring unwelcome publicity. The mp3 market is expected to grow to around 50 million devices by 2008. I expect Apple to snag around half of that. That’s a large dollar volume. Large enough for regulators to really start getting interested in. Apple will be in the same position as Microsoft found itself in the mid-90s. Suddenly Windows was no longer a niche, or a flash in the pan, but a market segment. And it was the monopolist. Apple really doesn’t want to incur the distraction of an FTC investigation for restraint of trade, or if matters developed the real threat of sanctions from the dept of justice for illegal tying. Suing Real to keep the platform shut might bring all that, and more.

Posted by Demosthenes on August 10, 2005 at 11:16 PM (CDT)


Hey Apple, better compatibility with other music stores means increased iPod sales.  My iPod purchase was a direct result of Real’s Harmony technology.  Don’t try pawning your crappy 128Kbs files on me!

Posted by Galley on August 11, 2005 at 1:32 AM (CDT)


Thank you JimG for making the point clear. This statement was more disclosure for shareholders and regulators than any admission of wrongdoing.  The warning was to inform about the ramifications of a prolonged legal battle if Apple does decide to sue over this.

Between the lines, basically it’s saying that even if Real prevails the only ones that will win are the lawyers.

Posted by flatline response on August 11, 2005 at 11:50 PM (CDT)

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