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RealNetworks CEO urges Steve Jobs to open iPod

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, March 23, 2004
News Categories: 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 News.com, 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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Comments

41

Beaten to it.

Posted by br-- on March 23, 2004 at 1:05 PM (PDT)

42

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

I worked in the early 1990s, pre-web days on CDDB/Gracenote, as did many others. It was free, open, and a great resource. Then the bean counters intervened and CDDB turned evil and started charging. But there are lots of other open, free alternatives to Gracenote.

Try FreeDB:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeDB
http://www.freedb.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CDDB
“The initial CDDB license was GNU General Public License, and many people who submitted CD information without charging anybody and thinking their help would remain free. However the license was later changed”

There are more errors in your short post but I am going to stop pointing them out now because I suspect that although you pretend to know a lot, in fact what you do know is almost, but not completely, wrong.

Posted by GraceNote Ripoff on March 23, 2004 at 1:07 PM (PDT)

43

BigSid,

Why arent you arguing that other companies like Napster And Creative adopt the AAC file format?

If you think about it the AAC format would save consumers money for the simple fact that it does not require royalty payments for using it.

Maybe AAC should become the standard by which online music is sold, consider that AAC is free to use and FairPlay DRM is provided by an independent company that will license its DRM to others.

A free open file will be better for consumers than a proprietary file any day, it promotes truly open competition.

Its a two way street, anyone who argues that Apple should support WMA w/ DRM can just as easily say that Windows Media Player should support AAC W/ Fair Play

Posted by Ariza on March 23, 2004 at 1:08 PM (PDT)

44

because they would have to pay ms royalties and
that may meen a rise in the price of aac files on itms.

BigSid i ask u this ’ would micrsoft ever support aac?  ... no ; so y should apple support wma?’

Posted by jc on March 23, 2004 at 1:12 PM (PDT)

45

Microsoft and everyone that wants a piece of this giant iPod market Apple has is pissed because they’re ignorant to the consumer. This guy obviously doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about and just wants a piece of the pie. Realplayer blows and everything they have come out with has been abandoned because it’s so bad. Somehow, now a whole bunch of people, including this bozo, are claiming that iTMS and the iPod are “monopolistic” and “only offer one choice” when Microsoft HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY. This guy doesn’t even know the product/service he’s up against. He should close his mouth and do some reading.

Posted by Q on March 23, 2004 at 1:17 PM (PDT)

46

AAC is an open fromat and only charges when you encode or decode into AAC.

This is from the link BR—posted.

Do you charge use fees for AAC?

No. Royalties are due on the sale of AAC encoders and/or decoders only.


Do you charge fees for the distribution of content in AAC format?

No. There are no royalties due on the distribution of audio encoded in the AAC format.


WMA charges Royalties and has much stricter control over its use.

Yes Ogg is a great file format and truely free of charge. We should all argue on the side of the Ogg format.

Posted by Ariza on March 23, 2004 at 1:18 PM (PDT)

47

“WMA charges Royalties and has much stricter control over its use.”

You really do know vbery little. End users don’t pay to encode either AAC or WMA (yet!), but must pay for the encoder. It’s the same deal for AAC and WMA.

Now, both MS and Apple supply their encoders free of charge, and make up the their “cost” of providing these encoders by charging end-users higher fees, either through increased software license revenue, hardware sales, or service revenues.

So the cost to you is not zero for either AAC or WMA, but it is hidden.

Whereas the cost of Ogg Vorbis is, and always will be, exactly zero.

Posted by ArizaKnowNothing on March 23, 2004 at 1:21 PM (PDT)

48

Arizaknownothing, stand up for yourself and use a real name.

how is what you said any different from what I was saying.

Apple doesnt own AAC, and currently gives away iTunes which has the AAC encoder built in. If AAC becomes the standard then it will not be monopolistic and will continue to cost little to nothing to the consumer, just as Dolby cost money but is a responsible and reasonable amount and is incorporated into the price of any Dolby stereo.

The same cant be said for MS. Microsoft does own WMA and charges for its encoder through the purchase of Windows or the royalties it charges companies like Napster. MS has a record of being monopolistic with its software. And yes MS does have stricter control over the use of WMA.

Yes I trust Apple and Dolbys AAC format over WMA from Microsoft.

Ogg Vorbis is truly free, I said that already, and I said we should all support it.

Posted by Ariza on March 23, 2004 at 1:39 PM (PDT)

49

“Apple doesnt own AAC, and currently gives away iTunes which has the AAC encoder built in. If AAC becomes the standard then it will not be monopolistic and will continue to cost little to nothing to the consumer”

Apple gives away iTunes, but they have to pay Dolby for every single copy they ship. If they didn’t make money back somehow to pay for this then they would be in breach of their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders.

How do they do this? The higher-than-industry-average price of Apple’s PCs funds their extension of iTunes into new markets.

You’re dreaming if you think Apple wouldn’t use a monopoly position to extract more money from end users. That is what they do with the Mac/OSX product at the moment.

I remind you that once upon a time system updates were free. Then Apple started charging for them.

Once upon a time .Mac was free. Then Apple started charging for it.

Once upon a time iLife was free. Then Apple started charging for it.

See a pattern? Apple’s tactics are the same as M$ or any other vertically integrated system aggregator… it’s just that M$ are far, far, far more successful at their gouging tactics than Apple ever have been.

Posted by Monopolies on March 23, 2004 at 1:46 PM (PDT)

50

There’s a ton of posts here, and I’m not sure if anybody mentioned it here yet, but there are other players out there that support the AAC format…like the Nokia handheld gaming system/phone/mp3 player.

For the time being, Apple is alright with keeping everything under their control.  But…the iPod isn’t just some little toy that’s enjoyed by Mac enthusiasts anymore, its gone mainstream and Apple needs to realize that the general public isn’t the same as their hardcore fanbase.

Posted by Ryan on March 23, 2004 at 1:58 PM (PDT)

51

Monoplies,

yes its true that the consumer will ultimately have to pay for what ever service, file format, operating system what have you that they use.

You would have to be stupid to think any company will give you any thing free.

that being said the real problem is that WMA is owned by Microsoft, Microsoft has a history of monopolistic behavior, and WMA is just a way to do so in the music business. How could anyone be so short sighted as to not see this.

AAC is owned by Dolby, we all now Dolby from great sounding Movies and stereos. Apple has chosen to go with AAC most likely for the music quality. I know I will pay for whatever format I choose but I trust Dolby and Apple and their intentions.

Apple does charge for updates to their OS but with every update the user gets hundreds of improvements and several new applications such as iChat AV and Expose.

Microsoft updates are used to correct security flaws in its windows operating system, and whens the last time MS provided any new features such as expose, iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, iCal, iSync for its customers.

Apple charges for its services just like any other company, but they also provide its users with an unmatched level of innovation and enjoyment.

One last thing, Apple was the first one to enter into On-line music sales, so why should Apple have to change its business to include newcomers that choose a different file format.

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

52

Ryan,

your right others like Nokia do use AAC.

and geeting back to the topic of this forum even Real Networks use AAC with their won DRM.

Posted by Ariza on March 23, 2004 at 2:12 PM (PDT)

53

Apparently a lot of the 15-year-olds around here do not know the meaning of the word “monopoly.”  I encourage them to look it up.

You cannot monopolize a product you make.  That’s like saying Ford has a monopoly on the Taurus, or Honda has a monopoly on the Civic.  Apple does not have a “monopoly” on Macintosh computers or OS X—it makes them, it does not HAVE to license those technologies to others.

You CAN have a monopoly over an entire _industry_.  Microsoft arguably has a monopoly on operating systems, even though plenty of others are available, because they control SO MUCH of the OS market, they can pretty much require everyone to use Windows.  I personally kind of disagree with this—I think organizations feel they are forced to use Windows because they are lazy and technologically inept.

It is ridiculous to say that Apple has anything even close to a monopoly over the music player or music download markets.  Plenty of viable alternatives exist, and I don’t see how Apple is unfairly muscling them at all.

Please learn what a word is used for before you toss it around.  Otherwise, someone may call you ignorant—and they would be correct, as that would embody the actual definition of ignorance.


—-
http://thewired.blogs.com/teotwawki
The techno-mediated cultural conspiracy

Posted by Nicky G on March 23, 2004 at 2:13 PM (PDT)

54

wow you guys are soo biased towards apple

Posted by apple blows on March 23, 2004 at 3:22 PM (PDT)

55

Nicky G-

I’m still waiting to hear what benefit it is to YOU that ITMS doesn’t sell WMA files, and that the iPod doesn’t play WMA files.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 23, 2004 at 3:28 PM (PDT)

56

Ryan-

I think you made a great point.  There are Mac users and there are PC users.  They seem to be two different types of people to some extent.

Apple is definitely trying to convert people to a Apple mindset, and it’s not working on me as much as I love my iPod.

Apple would possibly be best served by endearing themselves to the PC market if they truly want to stay at the top of the digital music realm.

OK, now the hardcore Apple fans can tell me that Apple should never ‘sell out’ but they’re gonna have to to an extent.  In fact, I won’t be surprised if they sell out completely within a year and allow the iPod to play WMA files.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 23, 2004 at 3:35 PM (PDT)

57

AAC, WMA…

...am I the only person who uses, and will always use, MP3?

Nope, don’t think I am. Let these companies do what they will, at the end of the day everyone’s using MP3.

Posted by Nicholas Howard in Los Angeles, CA on March 23, 2004 at 3:39 PM (PDT)

58

It’s as simple as this:

Sony doesn’t sell RCA televisions.
Chevrolet doesn’t sell Ford Tauruses.
Target doesn’t sell Sam’s Choice toilet paper.
Real doesn’t sell AAC.
Microsoft doesn’t sell AAC.
Apple doesn’t sell CRAP.

Letting crap into their store turns them into Wal-Mart and we know who shops there. PWT driving beat up Ford Tauruses who wipe their snot with used Sam’s Choice toilet paper while watching Wheel of Fortune on their brand new $99 32” RCA television (yes. this is a stereotype—- I shop there too).

So what if 90% of OS’s belong to Gates; it’s still crap. The problem with letting WMA and Real formats into their store would mean lowering the standards. I prefer Target over Wal-Mart because it’s cleaner, classier and the cashiers are better looking.

Apple doesn’t need to cooperate with the rookie music stores; they are competition. And Apple will not lose their success to a lower quality format. Those that choose to be cheap and go with M$ will miss out themselves, but it is their choice. Apple doens’t regulate such choices; they simply provide a product they choose to sell. The choice is in the other sources for online music.

Clearly, AAC can be modified to play on any music player. Real and WMA can’t. If some company wants to open a store that sells all the formats, go ahead. But it’s not Apple’s responsibility to bring Wal-Mart to the music business. As long as they’re selling their stuff and doing it well, quit your whining.

The only words I can think of on behalf of Glaser and Gates is jealousy, hypocisy and regret. They’ll keep whining, but the best thing for them to do is come up with something better, or latch on to what Apple is doing. Yet I’m sure we’ll only hear whining forever.

When Apple opens up it’s store to CRAP, they compromise what makes them great. And that’s what makes me admire the business. By opening up, Apple would make steps away from caring about the consumer. As a consumer, that scares me. I don’t want to lose that quality and greatness.

Posted by Wolf on March 23, 2004 at 3:49 PM (PDT)

59

I not sure, but, has anyone mentioned that Rob Glaser’s RealNetworks uses 192kbps AAC for their music store?!!!!!

What started all this talk about WMA, WMA is still a small player in the codec wars, and I think MS is concerned, they kinda got blind sided by iTunes/AAC and the Apple/HP deal, so all the MS centric media is on a mission to put some confusion into consumers heads. I couldn’t care less about WMA, but many of the maufacturers of WMA/MP3 players have a ‘special’ deal with MS and probably aren’t even allowed to support AAC within their agreement *my speculation*. I sure creative or iRiver would gladly support AAC to be compatible with the leading ‘legal’ on-line music store iTunes , but MS is flexing their muscles on this one. Remember, MS has a history of using it’s position to force consumers to use their technology.

I think Apple should support AAC, MP3, DRM MP3 and Ogg Vorbis, but in no way should ever consider WMA - simply because not many use it. Also, remember that DRM WMA - IS NOT - compatible with older MP3 players like my Creative Nomad IIc, so many consumers have to ugrade to newer players anyway if they want to use WMA music download sites.

I replaced my Nomad with a 15GB iPod, and am replacing my wife’s this summer with a 4GB mini - we just like them and made our choice. Oh yeah, as far as adopting new jukebox software for my Dell PC, I went winamp - musicmatch and since october iTunes, moving to the ones I prefer, iTunes is very good at what it does. I not sure what any of BigSid’s points are - except pointless.

Posted by Think on March 23, 2004 at 4:16 PM (PDT)

60

Think-

Let me some up your post.  YOU don’t want WMA so the iPod shouldn’t do it and ITMS shouldn’t sell it.

Your bit about don’t offer it because not a lot of people are using it is also stupid.  Not many people were using AAC before ITMS started selling it.  More people will use WMA now that many sites are selling it.  Yes, Apple is selling more right now, but I bet that changes in the future.  And, even if it doesn’t change why should we, the consumers/users, be at the mercy of a corporation’s agenda, whether it be Apple or Microsoft?

What a fool you are.  Just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t do it.  How many people here use audible files, but the iPod does it.

The point of my comments is that the iPod should do as much as possible.

Once again, I have to ask bozo’s like you (Think), WHAT’S THE REAL BENEFIT OF NON-COMPATIBILITY WITH WMA?

Give me a real answer this time, man.  If you simply hate Microsoft, we can just leave it at that, but if that’s the case I will question why you own a Dell box.

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 23, 2004 at 5:00 PM (PDT)

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