Update: Apple “stunned” at RealNetworks’ hacker tactics | iLounge News


Update: Apple “stunned” at RealNetworks’ hacker tactics

RealNetworks has responded to Apple’s statement (below) saying “consumers, and not Apple, should be the ones choosing what music goes on their iPod. Apple has suggested that new laws such as the DMCA are relevant to this dispute. In fact, the DMCA is not designed to prevent the creation of new methods of locking content and explicitly allows the creation of interoperable software. We remain fully committed to Harmony and to giving millions of consumers who own portable music devices, including the Apple iPod, choice and compatibility.

Harmony follows in a well-established tradition of fully legal, independently developed paths to achieve compatibility. There is ample and clear precedent for this activity, for instance the first IBM compatible PCs from Compaq. Harmony creates a way to lock content from Real’s music store in a way that is compatible with the iPod, Windows Media DRM devices, and Helix DRM devices. Harmony technology does not remove or disable any digital rights management system.”

Apple today released a statement in response to RealNetworks’ recent announcement that they had created a method to offer iPod-compatible song downloads through its new Harmony software. “We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA and other laws. We strongly caution Real and their customers that when we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real’s Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods.”

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Can you say… OWNED?

This is whatt apple gets for deciding to ‘close’ their software. Too bad they didn’t add OGG Vorbis support in the process.

Wasn’t the Woz’ a big h4x0r to begin with?

“are winning combos THAT WORK. ITMS+IPOD works, now why mess with it? CHOICE? The choice is simple buy ipod and use itunes or don’t buy the ipod. “

iTMS uses DRM, how is that a good choice and excellent combo? They make you pay for something you don’t fully own. Making an mp3 player, and creating an online music store that uses a file type which the mp3 player supports, is hardly a winning combo; its a good marketting strategy.

Posted by Stasyna on July 30, 2004 at 10:03 AM (CDT)


I don’t see what the big problem is.  If you want choice just buy the CD and rip it into whatever flavour of compression you like.  On my slow as all hell computer a CD takes about 5 minutes to rip into 192 kbs AAC.

If we are talking music stores then that is a different thing.  The ability to buy singles is nice.  I think this is the only real complaint I could see it that when buying singles for the iPod there is little choice mp3 or AAC.  Like somone mentioned 100 million songs is a drop in the bucket compared to total music sales.

I am not saying that Apple is wrong or right here, I am more saying who cares.  There will always be a choice in getting legit music onto your iPod.


Posted by Mike on July 30, 2004 at 10:10 AM (CDT)


studogvetmed: I wasn’t comparing the quality of the work done by Apple on Appleworks with the work done by Real on Harmony.

I was pointing out that both Apple and Real have both used reverse engineering to get their products to be compatible with those of competitors.

Until Apple remove MS Office support from Appleworks, Netbios support from OS X and many similar things they are not in a position to criticise Real.

(Personally I think reverse engineering for the purposes of compatibility is fine, but if Apple want to threaten others for doing it they need to stop doing it themselves first)

Posted by GT on July 30, 2004 at 10:29 AM (CDT)


quote from sisel:

“Choices”? At least AAC are still mp4s at heart. What the f*** are Real and WMA files?”

sisel hate to break it to you but RealAudio 10 is AAC. 


And furthermore the songs Real sells in their Music Store are 192 AAC as opposed to the 128 AAC Apple sells.  Get your information correct before you bitch.  The fact that Real sells higher quality AAC files might actually make Apple improve their service, competition is always good.  I love my iPod, I love iTunes but I’m not loyal to either.  If Apple screws me or something else better comes along I’ll walk in a heartbeat.

Posted by I like choice. on July 30, 2004 at 11:34 AM (CDT)


I agree… Apple is really out of line on this.

Real is doing nothing but offering more choice. I don’t see what anyone has the right to say about that.  If you like iTunes or forcing yourself to use Apple’s store and software, great.  Keep using it.  That’s the wonderful thing about CHOICE.  Welcome to the PC world you Apple fanboys.  Where you actually get to decide of your own free will what program works best for you instead of having Mr. Jobs tell you what you’re allowed to use.

Thank god Real player started us in the right direction.  Now if only a media player worth using would get it’s fingers into my iPod I might actually leave iTunes.

Posted by jab1981 on July 30, 2004 at 11:35 AM (CDT)


No, Billy Joe… Apple was built on legit money…. invested in by Ron Wanye, the third co-founder of Apple in 1976., and because the Woz sold his HP scientific calculator, and because Jobs sold his VW. You should really think about researching things before you post.

Posted by UTEP_MinerPod on July 30, 2004 at 12:21 PM (CDT)


No, Billy Joe… Apple was built with legetimate money. By the time Apple came around, they had stopped building the Blue Boxes. Their first capital was because Woz sold his HP scientific calculator, and Jobs sold his VW Microbus. Later, when Apple became a company, it was invested in by Ronald Wayne, the third co-founder of Apple. They formed Apple because they stopped the blue boxes, and they needed something else the could do. Apple may have been built by hackers, but it wasn’t illegal money that helped them get their start. You should really brush up on your history before you post.

Posted by UTEP_MinerPod on July 30, 2004 at 12:27 PM (CDT)


Why is everybody so obsessed with Woz’s background?  What if he was a hacker?  What is Jobs was a stoned acid droppin’ baby seal killin’ commy?  Bill Gates was a crook and still is.  At least Woz and Jobs tried to improve themselves.  Get over it!  If Apple wants to make a closed product, let them!  If it starts to suck, guess what, the market will get rid of it.  It’s not like Apple is trying to put other music stores out of business with strong arm tactics.  Other music stores go out of business because they suck and things that suck go away when there is a better alternative.  There are dozens of music players and stores out there.  Go use one of them!

Posted by Abahd Fugufish on July 30, 2004 at 12:43 PM (CDT)


“Choices”? At least AAC are still mp4s at heart. What the f*** are Real and WMA files?”

sisel hate to break it to you but RealAudio 10 is AAC.”

Please. They just came out with AAC for RealAudio 10 for the Mac. What were they last month on the Mac platform? I’m sorry, I didn’t do an investigative report for Real like someone who is writing a book report for school might. In the past they’ve presented me—as part of the Mac community—a God awful experience with their proprietary RAM files. Oh, they must have thought of using AAC all by themselves.

Shut the hell up and allow other people their opinion before crying bulls*** like the obvious titty-baby you appear to be. I’d love AAC in the Apple store to be 192 as well, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Posted by lol on July 30, 2004 at 1:22 PM (CDT)


Don’t most people fill up their iPods with tracks from sources OTHER than the iTMS?

Do people really care that much about buying digital downloads?

There must be more profit margin in those 99 cents than they are letting on.

Posted by wco81 on July 30, 2004 at 1:58 PM (CDT)


Does the iPod support DRM on any playback format other than AAC? If not, then in order to use Apple’s DRM, Real would obviously have to transcode to AAC and add the appropriate permissions info to the files. Apple might have a legit beef if this were the case (presumably there are some patents involved—this would not be a “new method of locking content” but an unauthorized use of an existing one).  Otherwise…pffft, crybabies.

I have yet to see any hard technical details on how this system is supposed to work, just PR fluff from both sides.  Absent further info, I suspect Real is just transcoding their files into a format the iPod can play natively, and then loading these non-DRM’ed files onto the player the same way Anapod Explorer and all the other third-party iPod management programs are doing.  There’s nothing particularly hackish about this approach, and certainly nothing illegal.

Posted by Ernie Longmire on July 30, 2004 at 3:28 PM (CDT)


This is simply an attempt for Real to jump on the iPod/iTunes bandwagon and gain publicity in the process. It is cyncial and nothing to do with extra choice.

Posted by Real Bandwagon on July 30, 2004 at 5:30 PM (CDT)


For Real, it’s about increasing revenue/profits. For users, it’s about increasing choice, even if some think it’s a poor choice (no one is making anyone make that choice). For Apple, it’s about having to admit they want to lock users into a proprietary system. It’s not about “different,” it’s about “unique.” It’s also about Jobs/Glaser egos.

It’s amazing how threatened an open market makes some of the (apparently Macintosh) users here feel.

lol, for instance, has clearly lost the rational argument and has in desperation resorted to making ad hominem attacks and pointing out spelling errors. I expect someone to throw out the obligatory reference to Hitler next.


Posted by m.s on July 30, 2004 at 7:51 PM (CDT)


It would seem Apple is turning into Microsoft junior.  Create proprietary products and try to sue anybody who competes with you into oblivian.

Posted by Mountain Man on July 30, 2004 at 7:58 PM (CDT)


Competition is good.
Closed systems are bad.

Apple is acting like a Luddite in this. Real may produce junk - I won’t install their junk in my PC or use it on my iPod, but let the market decide, not the guys that own 70% of the legal download market.

(BTW, I don’t use iTunes on my iPod either… it’s about as intuitive as a self-induced spinal tap. Let the flames commence.)

Posted by MartyB on July 30, 2004 at 9:15 PM (CDT)


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again for those of you in the cheap seats.  This whole issue of Apple vs Real is NOT about consumer choice.  It’s about revenue stream for Apple.  They may actually license FairPlay to someone in the future whenother music stores catch up to them.  But if Real is allowed to get away with this, how can Apple ever sell a license, wehn people can just hack around it.  The consumer has always had a choice to use ITMS with the iPod or find other means.  There are enough converter, filters and recorders out there that you can take any audio format (even protected ones) and convert it to an mp3 which will play on an iPod.  This has existed since iPod gen 1.  So the choice has always been there for those who want to go through the headache and hassle to make it.  This is about a product that Apple has deveopled and owns that someone is attempting to rip off illegally.  Get over this consumer choice crap and open your eyes.  It all comes back to the money and how to make more of it and Apple is seeing a potential market get hacked away.  Is it really that hard to see?

Posted by Abahd Fugufish on July 30, 2004 at 10:05 PM (CDT)


For those of you who still want to think this is a consumer shoice let me try this:
ITMS or Real =
Steak or Cow Pile
Is that a choice? 
You tell me.

Posted by Abahd Fugufish on July 30, 2004 at 10:13 PM (CDT)


Real sells AACs at 192? I didn’t know that. That is a big difference. I still won’t ever buy from Real, but I think the folks at Apple had better start increasing the rates of their files in small increments (so as to not piss off recent customers), and they should do it NOW. We have ears, you know, and 128 is just absolutely unacceptable. 192 is the bare minimum if you care about the music, and it still isn’t CD-quality. 224 AAC gets really close. But 128? Come on!

Posted by Questioner on July 31, 2004 at 1:45 AM (CDT)


BTW, Why would anyone want to use wma? I hope they never support it, and I am glad to see AAC proliferate. Most of the new MP3 portable CD players can read AAC now. A good thing.

Posted by Questioner on July 31, 2004 at 1:47 AM (CDT)


Real is right here !
And we as Apple user can be thankful for it.
Now we can use Songs from more than 1 Store.
We can use Reals Store too. And lets see who is next.

If Apple sue them and win, i sell my iPod.
I want songs from anywhere on my iPod.
Otherwise i have to buy an other Player.

Posted by Ryo on July 31, 2004 at 5:50 AM (CDT)

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