Fiefdom of Music Choice: Real Networks is being Deceptive
No, I'm not talking politics here, folks. I'm talking about a company that releases poorly-designed products, harasses its users, and then tries to bully its way into a competitors product when it can't compete on its own.
Real Networks has tried for years now to get people to pay for music they can't keep, and have had limited success. Apple came along and ate their lunch by combining a best-of-breed portable music player in the iPod and combined it with an easy-to-use, enjoyable online music store. Their reward? Lots of customers, using good products.
Real then offers Apple the wonderful opportunity to partner with them for, basically, only Real's benefit. They include a threat to go to Microsoft and partner with them to compete against Apple if Apple turns them down. Apple concludes, correctly that Real is not much of a threat and their lousy software design would certainly NOT benefit Apple or its customers. Apple tells them to get lost via releasing Real's childish-sounding message to the New York Times.
Real then reverse-engineers Apple's DRM method so that they can encode their music to play on the iPod while still being copy-protected. There are some problems here: first is that Real could have just converted their music to MP3, which the iPod can play without a problem. Apple's DRM (Fairplay) is presumably their own intellectual property, or at least is SOMEONE's intellectual property. Whatever your politics on this are, Real is using someone else's IP to make a profit. Generally not allowed. Apple correctly announces that as they have no control over what Real is doing, a future update may break Real's hacked conversion (ignore negative connotation of the word "hacked." I'm just using it to describe programming without the full documentation of a particular environment). Apple is trying to explain that Real's software is not Apple's responsibility to support, which is the whole problem with this in the first place. Who will iPod users complain to if a song won't play on their iPod, and someone told them it would?
Finally, what most tech news sites are NOT reporting, the software Real uses to do this is not available for Mac OS X. So, the champions of "music choice" are deliberately leaving Apple's core customers out in the cold. When Real foolishly puts up a petition that claims to represent users clamoring for Apple to let Real screws its customers, many flocked to the site and told Real how wrong they were. Once again, Real showed its true colors by ripping down the comments, and posting a new site where users have no choice to have their say.
This kind of self-serving hypocritical garbage should be ridiculed by everyone as the desperate ploy of a company that knows it is out-classed, out-designed, and ready to go out-of-business.
Read Real's garbage