Perhaps it was arrogance on the part of RealNetworks’ CEO Rob Glaser. Maybe it was outright desperation. It could be that Apple is really on to something and the trio of iPod, iTunes, iTMS has struck a sounding chord with Windows legions as well as the Mac faithful.
Apple has cleverly created a product and service that “feel just right” for everyone who tries it; Mac or Windows. In fact, it feels so good for most users that even considering other products becomes shameful.
Is it over yet?
You’d think so following the latest RealNetworks’ brouhaha.
First, CEO Glaser appeals to Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, to open up the iPod and let Real sell music to iPod users. Apple ignores the request, then cuts a deal with Motorola to deliver iTunes Music Store and iTunes music direct to future generations of Motorola cell phones. Apple’s digital rights management system, called FairPlay, is officially “open.”
But not to RealNetworks.
Next, Real creates and launches software called Harmony which is designed to allow music sold by Real’s Music Store to be played on Apple’s iPod, circumventing Apple’s DRM. Apple screams “foul.”
But no one buys much music from Real’s Music Store anyway.
Finally, Real Networks announces a string of PR designed to embarrass Apple. Look at the list:
That was more than a salvo across the bow of Apple’s good ship Music. It was a series of firepower laden torpedos designed to damage Apple’s relationship with the customers, millions, who’ve purchased iPods and songs from iTMS.
The effects of #1 and #2 remain to be seen. RealNetworks’ Music Store is now officially losing a bunch of money on every song and album it sells in the hopes that Apple’s iPod customers will get upset at Apple because Apple won’t open iPod technology (FairPlay) and license it to Real.
The online weblog, #4 above, was roundly criticized by everyone as a blatant attempt to play on the emotions of iPod users. It failed miserably as iPod customers (Mac and Windows) united and deluged RealNetworks with negative email and weblog articles.
The online petition, #3 above, was more fun. Instead of collecting thousands of online signatures and comments from supposedly disgruntled iPod users, the site ended up collecting hundreds and hundreds of “signatures” and comments from Apple’s faithful Mac users, and satisfied iPod users.
Some of the comments must be recorded for posterity; and the sore posterior felt by all those working at RealNetworks after being roundly thumped throughout the Internet. For example:
JoJo the Clown summed up the situation:
Steve (probably not Apple’s Steve; but maybe) had this to say:
What’s really fun about these is how creative the writers are, how insightful their understanding of the marketplace strategy by Real, and how well they’re written.
Apple Avenger summed it up:
The ever present Anonymous Coward echoed what many iPod users felt:
Windows iPod users are now demonstrating characteristics of the Mac user, which says Apple has done the same thing to Windows customers that Mac users have known for years. Build something good, people will like it. Build something bad, and people call it Windows; or, RealNetworks.
Bender’s comments sum up Windows users:
These go on forever and ever. For awhile, RealNetworks had a link to the Petition Site but then pulled it from their own web site.
I wonder why?