Apple Computer’s trio of iPod, iTunes, iTunes Music Store (iTMS) owns the online music store scene. Some estimate market share exceeding 70-percent, and mind share at nearly 100-percent.
In an attempt to cash in on the legal download music explosion, RealNetworks, a pioneer in online audio and video media, opened their own Internet music store. The result? A big yawn from most consumers, many of whom have fallen in love with Apple’s diminutive iPod and iTMS.
Last month Real announced Harmony, a new way to buy music from Real’s online music store and play it on the iPod. Apparently sales haven’t been meeting projections. Today, Real announced 49-cent downloads and $4.99 albums and promotions aimed squarely at Apple’s millions of iPod users.
What would happen if Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs met Real founder and head Rob Glaser? That’s exactly what reader Anonymous Coward says took place yesterday in Palo Alto.
Jobs and Glaser face-to-face at MacArthur Park, a trendy Palo Alto eatery on University Avenue. Anonymous says he was on hand and sitting at a table near Jobs’ table when what looked like the chubby Rob Glaser walked by. Obviously, Anonymous used his iPod to record much of the conversation and resulting disturbance
Anonymous Coward: “So, I’m sitting at MacArthur Park eating some ribs for lunch. Just two tables away is what looks like Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer. He’s having lunch with a woman and another guy. He looks good considering he had surgery just a couple weeks ago. I’m about to whip out my iPod and grab a napkin and ask for his autograph when this chubby guy walks by and starts up a conversation.”
“When I heard the guy who looks like Steve say the name “Glaser” it could only mean one thing; Rob Glaser, former Microsoft employee, Apple nemesis, portly carnivore, and head of rival RealNetworks. Man, am I prepared. I grab my Belkin iPod voice recorder, snap it in in my iPod, and click, click, I’m recording the conversation of the year. Woo hoo!”
Glaser: “Hey Steve, good to see you. How’d the surgery go? Blood and guts everywhere, I’ll bet. Can I see the scar? You look pale, man. White as a ghost.”
Jobs: “Please, Glaser. I’m eating.”
Glaser: “You call that eating? It’s just vegetables. Where’s the meat? You should try the baby back ribs here. They smoke them right out back. If you ask me, I’d go for the ribs. Chicken is good, too.”
Jobs: “I’m a vegan. I only eat vegetables. I don’t eat meat. Don’t you read?”
Glaser: “Yeah, well you’ll be eating crow and reading all about Apple’s fall once we launch our new ad campaign tomorrow. iPod users all over the world will unite and demand that Apple unlock their iPods.
Jobs: “How’s that, Glaser? Where’d you get the money for a new ad campaign? Is Bill sending you checks again?”
Glaser: “I thought of this one myself. Totally by myself, you know. I call it the “Freedom of Music Choice” campaign, and it will turn every iPod user against you, Steve. And Harmony’s going great guns, you know. We’ve sold, uh, thousands and thousands of songs that can play on iPod. We’ll even have a weblog where disgruntled iPod users can unite, start a community, and share their misery.”
Jobs: “I didn’t know there were any disgruntled iPod users. Besides, iPod and iTunes is already an open system, Rob. It’s Mac AND Windows, you know? Any system that will save music to an MP3 will play on the iPod. Even Windows Wav music will play on an iPod. Is Real’s online music store Mac compatible yet, Glaser? Fix that and we might talk.”
Glaser: “How come you don’t answer my email, Steve? I must’ve left you a dozen voice mail messages. You been outta town or sick?”
Jobs: “I just had surgery. This is my first time out. It was supposed to be a quiet lunch.”
Glaser: “You call that a lunch? That’s rabbit food, man. You should try a steak or something. It’ll make you think clearer, instead of “different” all the time, you know?”
Jobs: “Listen, why don’t you just burrow your way out of here, before I say something you’ll regret. Like, “What’s lower than a snake’s belly?”
Glaser: “I don’t know. What?”
Jobs: “RealNetwork’s stock price! Bwahahahah!”
Anonymous Coward: “At that the man and woman having lunch with Jobs broke out in laughter. People sitting on both sides of Jobs’ table starting laughing and snickering. I was surprised that so many people knew who Glaser was. I guess they knew. Anyway, his face (not Jobs) started getting really red. I swear, I thought I saw the button on his shirt collar pop off.”
“The guy who looked like Glaser turned to walk away, then turned back to face Jobs. Just at that moment, the guy sitting across from Steve threw a spoonful of pasta at Glaser, hitting his shirt pocket. All hell broke loose after that. I’m only sorry I didn’t have a video camera.”
Glaser: “You people are animals. Why can’t you be like everyone else and share?”
Jobs: “Share what, Rob? Music players that don’t work? A “Windows only” mentality? Not likely. We think different at Apple. Haven’t you heard? We’re in to making products that work well together, to play well together. QuickTime is Mac and Windows. iTunes is Mac and Windows. iPod is Mac and Windows. iTunes Music Store is Mac and Windows. Repeat after me, Rob: Mac and Windows, Mac and Windows.”
Anonymous Coward: “People in nearby tables in MacArthur Park began chanting, “Mac and Windows, Mac and Windows, Mac AND Windows.” Glaser turned and ran down an aisle but the people there picked up on the chant, “Real is not for real. Real is not for real, Real is not for real.”
“Glaser put his hands over his ears and waddled out the door. It was a quick exit, mind you. But a waddle nonetheless.”
“I swear it happened just like that.”
Editor: Attempts by the Mac360 reporting staff to get an audio copy of the conversation have thus far failed. However, we did manage to track down another MacArthur Park patron who was being seated just as the Jobs-Glaser conversation ended. Jobs reportedly turned to his dining companions and said, “Enough of this. This place is old anyway. I hate eating in old places. Let’s go.”
Meanwhile, RealNetworks launched their online music sale with singles at 49-cents and albums at $4.99. They also launched a weblog called Freedom of Music Choice, and set up an online petition for iPod users to tell Apple, “Don’t Break My iPod!”
As of this writing, most of the petitioners were, well, lets just say it’s fun reading. Parody and satire always is, right?