RealNetworks CEO urges Steve Jobs to open iPod | iLounge News


RealNetworks CEO urges Steve Jobs to open iPod

“RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser has a message for Apple Computer chief Steve Jobs: Open iPod or shrivel. Glaser, the feisty founder of the Internet entertainment network, said during a panel discussion Tuesday at PC Forum here that Apple is creating problems for itself by using a file format that forces consumers to buy music from Apple’s own iTunes site. (CNET Networks, publisher of, last week acquired EDventures, which sponsors PC Forum.)

Because Apple’s iPod music player does not support other proprietary music formats and does not license its own format to rivals, Real’s Rhapsody and other song sites are blocked from easily reaching iPod users.

‘Apple’s (market) share will go down if they continue to do this,’ Glaser said. ‘The only way to presently put songs on an iPod is to (buy) them from iTunes.’

‘There is a good opportunity to say to Steve, ‘You’ve done a good job of promoting this thing, but now one of two bad things will happen,’ Glaser said. ‘One, Apple’s market share will go down to its historical single-digit levels, or two, it will slow down the development of this market.’”

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BigSid, iTunes for windows plays AAC, so iTunes AAC files can be played on 100% of the consumer computer market.

unlike protected WMA files that can not be played on Apple hardware since the mac version of Widows Media Player does not accecpt its own protected WMA files.

Posted by Ariza on March 23, 2004 at 2:10 PM (CST)



Thank you. 

iPod is a great thing, but I couldn’t care less about ITMS.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 23, 2004 at 2:10 PM (CST)


That is the whole point of Apple strategy:

Posted by Yarin on March 23, 2004 at 2:10 PM (CST)



who said that others cant use Apples DRM scheme? AAC is open source file, unlike WMA which you need to pay royalties to Microsoft for using it.

SO AAC is open source and the DRM apple uses is FAirPlay which any company can use and is provided by a third party so its not like Apple owns it and wont share it.

BigSid you sound like an industry insider trying to preach gospel to us, speak the truth or get lost.

Posted by Ariza on March 23, 2004 at 2:16 PM (CST)



You’re right iTunes for Windows does play AAC, I also believe that the new RealPlayer does as well, but the problem there is that it requires 95% of computer users to adopt a new program.

Many consumers, dare I say most, aren’t interested in switching programs if they already have something that will do the job.

It’s a two-way street.  While many people want to buy music from places other than ITMS for their iPod, many people would also like to use ITMS to buy music for devices other than iPods (lots of people own Rio’s, Dell’s, Creative products and a gang of others).

Apple’s hurting themselves along with consumers.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 23, 2004 at 2:18 PM (CST)



I’m the furthest thing from an industry insider. 

AAC may be an open format, but Apple’s DRM scheme is not.

You’re paying $1 a song, I don’t understand why you car how it’s getting divided up.  I don’t care if some is going to Aplle, or Microsoft.

Your allegiance to Apple makes you sound like more of an insider than I do.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 23, 2004 at 2:23 PM (CST)


BigSid, what is your agenda here?  Apple is not hurting anyone witht heir decision to go with AAC on their store, nor are they hurting anyone by not allowing the iPod to work with WMA and RealMedia files.  Exactly who is getting hurt, and how?  Because nobody is, at least by any rational argument, I won’t be expecting any response.

The techno-mediated cultural conspiracy

Posted by Nicky G on March 23, 2004 at 2:27 PM (CST)


I agree. Apple need to open the iPod for wma. Sooner or later.

Posted by Sparks9 on March 23, 2004 at 2:27 PM (CST)


BigSid writes, “Many consumers, dare I say most, aren’t interested in switching programs if they already have something that will do the job.”

Well, they should switch to itunes. THAT IS THE POINT. Itunes is free only because it is a selling point for ipods. Users will be much happier—it’s a much better program, and it might make PC users appreciate Apple. Whose payroll are you on, anyway? Your statements sound like Glaser’s. Are you Glaser?

Posted by IdentityCop on March 23, 2004 at 2:32 PM (CST)


Well.  HP is now shipping Windows with iTunes loaded.  People might fear change, but everyone here at the home who’s seen iTunes on my steeze has switched.  Nap time.

Posted by Old Man on March 23, 2004 at 2:37 PM (CST)


Nicky G-

Monopoly is the term you’re missing.

I have no agenda here except to see that consumers have as many options availble to them as possible.

We are at the infancy of an industry and no one yet has a monopoly, but Apple is using monoplolistic stragtegies to hold its market share.  Some people will say that Apple isn’t being monopolistic, but rather just using sound business skills—at this point maybe it’s a mix of both.

When a monopoly exists, it’s the consumer who gets hurt.

Though you may not agree, I hope that was ‘rational’ enough for you.


Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 23, 2004 at 2:43 PM (CST)



I care about how the money is divided up for the same reason I choose Apple over Microsoft.

Apple choose to focus on the consumer and constantly innovate to provide a better experience for all of us, while Microsoft neglects its customers and does little to innovate or even fix its products.

I prefer to support a company that is looking out for us and makes products like the iPod and the iTunes music store.

If apple is pushing for AAC, a file format that is free and does not require royalty payment to Microsoft than I believe the rest of the industry should use it.

Only bad things can happen when one company controls something as universal as the file format your music is in. WMA is proprietary and if the On-Line music stores stick with it Microsoft will control the entire market. Now how is that good for any of us?

I could care less if its easier for people to use the built in Windows media player on their computer. Microsoft has gotten sued for this practice before, Internet Explorer ran Netscape out of business because people found it easier to use the built in IE, now Internet Explorer is a bloated application and has security flaws.

Regardless, you still need to sign up for Napster or iTunes and at the same time a customer can download iTunes as their jukebox, millions of people already have.



Posted by Ariza on March 23, 2004 at 2:46 PM (CST)


Question for the group:


A lot of people are strongly against ITMS selling WMA, and iPod playing WMA, and I don’t see why.  If you’re just looking out for Apple’s best interest, that’s fine, but I’m just genuinely curious why so many are against it.

Hopefully no flames, just rational discussion.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 23, 2004 at 2:49 PM (CST)



the rational for not using WMA files is that its owned by MS and you have to pay royalties for usnig it.

AAC is free! and anyone can license Apples DRM FairPlay because its not even owned by Apple, rather its provided by anther company.


WMA is owned by MS the king of monopolys. Just because Napster and others are using WMA doesnt mean its not MONOPOLISTIC because MS still controls it and charges for its use. 

Posted by Ariza on March 23, 2004 at 2:51 PM (CST)


I guess I don’t see why anyone would want to open the iPod up to .wma:  I mean honestly—who cares?  I had a coupla thousand .wma files stored on my PC that I had ripped from CD well before I bought my iPod.  I downloaded (for free mind you) dbPowerAmp Music Converter and all my .wma’s became 192bit mp3’s, no muss, no fuss.

And, the few AAC files I’ve purchased/redeemed from the iTMS play perfectly on my PC via iTunes.

So, to those who think the iPod needs to open up to .wma, I’m asking why?

Posted by breathe on March 23, 2004 at 3:00 PM (CST)


Apple has no obligation whatsoever to open up the ipod to play wma.  Mp3 is still the standard format of choice and is still what most people are using, so to say apple needs to start opening up to .wma means they have to open up to EVERY file format.  This would be nice in theory but impossible. 

I see no difference between Napster’s choice not to sell AAC as I do with Apple’s choice not to sell wma files. 

Both AAC and WMA play on macs and Windows machines, so I don’t see what it matters other than when you start discussing quality issues, which is a no-win discussion.

Posted by dave on March 23, 2004 at 3:00 PM (CST)



I agree Microsoft is very monopolistic, but Apple is using its present market share to take a shot at being monopolistic as well.

I don’t want to hurt Apple, and at this point no one can really hurt Microsoft.

I just want freedom of choice and the ability to play all my music on all my devices.

Steve Jobs is not as rich as Gates, hell he’s not even half as rich as the number #3 guy at Microsoft, but he’s richer than me, and he’s definitely taking a piece of a lot of people’s pies.

Nothing is, or will be truly royalty free in this arena.  Hell GraceNote charges just to provide the names of songs.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 23, 2004 at 3:01 PM (CST)


“AAC is free!”

AAC is not “free” - it’s hemmed in by licencing restrictions and royalty payments. You want to make and sell an AAC software or hardware encoder? It’s going to cost you. In fact, the MPEG-4 consortium charges higher royalties to licence AAC than M$ does for WMA.

You want simple, really free top-quality lossless audio? Get Ogg!

Posted by AAC PayWare on March 23, 2004 at 3:03 PM (CST)


ariza, a good deal of your post was wrong.

aac is not free. there are licensing fees you have to pay for that, just like with wma.

not anyone can license FairPlay. Apple DOES own FairPlay.

Posted by eric on March 23, 2004 at 3:03 PM (CST)


It sure is funny how many people think AAC is a “free” format. It’s patented. Via Licensing (Dolby) owns it and charges license fees to hardware manufacturers and software developers that incorporate their technology.

It’s essentially as proprietary as Mp3 or WMA (both not free formats).
If you’re looking for an audio format that’s really free, check out Ogg Vorbis.

Posted by br-- on March 23, 2004 at 3:04 PM (CST)

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