RealNetworks plans to sell iPod compatible songs | iLounge News

RealNetworks plans to sell iPod compatible songs

“Tomorrow, without Apple’s authorization, RealNetworks will start to give away software that will allow people to buy and download songs from its online music store and then play them on Apple’s popular iPod portable devices in addition to those that use the Windows Media Player format and RealNetwork’s Helix format. [...]

So RealNetworks created technology that can create files to be read by iPods. Mr. Glaser [CEO, RealNetworks] declined to say how it did this. But Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research, said that RealNetworks used a technique known as reverse engineering - observing how Apple’s software behaved as it encoded songs to be loaded onto iPods.”

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HA HA!!! FU Jobs!

Posted by pigpen65 in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 11:16 AM (CDT)


There’s only two ways this could work.
Either realnetworks reverse engineered apple’s DRM technology, which means they’re about to get slapped with a huge lawsuit.

Or they’re just putting non-DRMed AAC or MP3 onto your ipod with their software.  Using just itunes and realplayer, if their software puts it directly on your ipod, then you wouldn’t be able to get it back off.

But knowing that there are tons of software that DO let you transfer music off of the ipod, I think they’re making a new way for people to easily buy non-DRMed music.

Posted by Wetzel in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 11:49 AM (CDT)


I heard that they used reverse engineering.

Posted by coolpepper43 in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 12:03 PM (CDT)


this isn’t a FU to Jobs or apple. It’s signs that Real can’t compete with apple without having to take very long strides to incorporate apple’s products into Real’s business model. Real pretty much begged Apple to include its format on the iPod and Jobs refused, so now they’re changing their format. Basically, Real’s only way of survival is to tie their product into another company’s product, which, to me, means that Real doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of surviving on its own.

Posted by scot in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 12:03 PM (CDT)


Apple should watch how they proceed with this one…

-They could assume that they already have the market share- and refuse to allow another music service the ability to write music to their device

-They could allow Real the opportunity, and potentially grab more market share with the iPod, but possibly lose some ground with iTMS - which I doubt due to the large catalog that they have available.

I fear they will shut down Real’s strategy… but hopefully they will remember what market share they lost in the early 80s due to their propietary ways.

Posted by John in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 12:30 PM (CDT)


I do not understand how Apple doesnt stand to benefit from this move by Real?  It just means more people will buy iPods now that they can use them with more than just iTMS.  Real MAY have some better album prices and higher AAC bitrates, but iTMS has more songs and is now signing up the Indies too.  I am an Apple fan, not a Jobs fan, and I cant help but get de ja vu over Jobs’ reluctance to open the iPod to other music stores.  Closed minds are mentally deficient.

Posted by Dale in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 3:03 PM (CDT)


“Either realnetworks reverse engineered apple’s DRM technology, which means they’re about to get slapped with a huge lawsuit.”

I’m sure Real has the resources to fend off a frivolous lawsuit from Apple. Yes, that’s right, frivolous. You’re not one of those ignorant Mac zealots who think reverse engineering is illegal? If it was, Microsoft would have sued Apple over Samba (Windows Filesharing in MacOS X) a long time ago.

Besides, Real claims that they haven’t reverse engineered FairPlay. This claim is most likely true. Why would Real reverse engineer something that was reverse engineered already 6 months ago?

No need to reverse engineer when you can just look at publicly available information:

Posted by Wendy in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 3:54 PM (CDT)


This doesn’t sound like it will help Real—or hurt Apple—much, but if it helps Real even a little bit against Microsoft WMA stores I won’t complain.

As for Apple legal action, if they have to defend their patents, they will.

Posted by Nagromme in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 4:21 PM (CDT)


“As for Apple legal action, if they have to defend their patents, they will.”

Apple doesn’t have any patents on FairPlay. FairPlay uses MD5 and AES, which are in the public domain.

Posted by Wendy in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 4:41 PM (CDT)


reverse engineering aka hacking/cracking

Posted by Otsego_Undead in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 5:22 PM (CDT)


See the parallel thread on Slashdot:

Posted by ET in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 5:57 PM (CDT)


Wendy, plain old reverse-engineering is not illegal, but under the DMCA, reverse-engineering a digital rights management system is.  Whether or not this applies to Real’s product depends on how it works.

Posted by Ernie Longmire in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 7:19 PM (CDT)



Wrong. Have you even read the DMCA?

The DMCA outlaws circumvention (removing DRM). What real is doing is the opposite: adding FairPlay DRM to audio tracks.

Posted by Wendy in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 7:43 PM (CDT)


I don’t see what the big deal is for several reasons.

1. REAL is only after money…believe me…I tiried to use them as a enterprise media player…sell, sell, sell
2. Their product sucks
3. Who uses it now?
4. You can not navigate their site
5. Their site is like dealing with used car salesmen
6. How many songs have they sold?
7. How many songs do they have to sell?

The main question is what is going to drive iPod+iTunes users to flock to their site? What is the compelling thing that they have to offer?

The media drives this stuff and in a week they will be an afterthought and not heard from again until Glaser starts whining again.

Posted by macmonster in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 8:02 PM (CDT)


can’t wait for this to be release.
right now real rapshody having a music give away   with heineken beer.
each 12 pack case you get a code for three downloads.

i have a few =D   been wondering how i would put it into my ipod. =D

Posted by tdb in Irvine, CA on July 26, 2004 at 11:39 PM (CDT)


Ever since real networks was caught stealing user information, I haven’t trusted the company. Still to this day, you can launch real player and if it detects an internet connection, it’s talking to real networks, and that real networks event launcher, arghhh! Thank god for firewall software!!!

Posted by mikeb in Irvine, CA on July 27, 2004 at 4:27 AM (CDT)



This is totally a FU. You’re right, Real went out of their way to convince jobs to allow compatability with Real Networks music store. Jobs refused. Real found a way around it. In the end Jobs isn’t getting what he wanted, which is exclusive compatability between itunes and ipods. The thing that confuses me sooo much is why go through all the trouble of offering another software download to convert Real’s files into ipod compatable files, when they could just offer MP3’s for download and ensure compatabilty with all players (aside from Sony of course?)

Posted by pigpen65 in Irvine, CA on July 27, 2004 at 8:48 AM (CDT)


One thing that no one has mentioned is that ‘Real’ offers their songs at a 192 bitrate!!!  For the same price as iTunes 128.

To me, that makes using Real for some downloads a lot more enticing.  Why does the iTunes store nto give the customer an option of 128 or 192?  I can understand why iTunes likes to default to 128 since that is the bitrate it uses to advertise the amount of songs each iPod can hold, BUT, why can’t we at least be able to download at 192 and convert if we want to to a lower bitrate?

One nice feature of Real Player is that you download everything at 192, the in the ‘import’ or ‘sync’ options, you tell it what bitrate to export to the iPod.  Pretty cool.

Posted by Spooky in Irvine, CA on July 27, 2004 at 8:56 AM (CDT)


This is a win win situation for both companies.  Real Networks did the right thing.  Everyone knows the iPod is the premier mp3 player.  Why would any company who wants to make money selling legal downloads not make their songs compatible with the iPod?  I remember a few months ago, Real Networks tried to work out a parntership with Apple but Jobs wouldn’t even return any of Rob Glaser’s calls.  Real Networks’ Music Store is not the greatest.  I have downloaded songs from their store but have had lots of trouble trying to burn them onto a CD.  It would be nice to just transfer them onto my iPod without having to go to the trouble of trying to burn my downloads onto a CD and them ripping them into standard mp3’s.  Real Networks did the only logical thing.  They have one of the best promos with Heineken.  Apples’s promo with Pepsi was an unabashed disaster.  I hope nothing but good things for Real Networks’ Harmony trials.  This can only help iPod users.  I hope Apple doesn’t do something stupid like trying to sue Real Networks.

Posted by Tchocky in Irvine, CA on July 27, 2004 at 8:59 AM (CDT)


We’ll just have to see how precient you are (or aren’t) in your predictions.

You seem pretty confident in your OPINION.  But, Maybe that’s just arrogance.

Posted by The Raven in Irvine, CA on July 27, 2004 at 11:40 AM (CDT)

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