So Real Networks has jumped on the “we can’t compete in the market, gee, let’s resort to litigation” bandwagon, and filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft (lots of details and links at news.com). As per the filing, Microsoft used “monopoly power to restrict how PC makers install competing media players while forcing every Windows user to take Microsoft’s media player, whether they want it or not.” And that is why people are not using Real? With all due respect Mr. Rob Glaser, I am one of those users who did download the Real Player, and even paid for a copy at one point. But that was a long time ago, I stopped when the player started becoming intrusive, popping up windows and ads, embedding itself in my taskbar despite my having removed it a short while earlier, nagging me to buy add-ons and newer versions, continuing to send me e-mail despite my having checked the “don’t e-mail me” box, and worse. And that is nothing to do with Media Player being included with Windows, I installed QuickTime, and have installed Windows Media Player updates, so apparently there are indeed users who don’t mind downloading, installing, and even paying for software, despite what comes pre-installed with the operating system. The reason I don’t use Real now is because it is big and bloated and intrusive, and that Mr. Glaser is your problem, not Bill Gates’ problem.

12 thoughts

  1. I totally agree. I too ought a copy of RealJukebox at one point. But it was big, ugly, corrupted its database every few weeks, and soon superceded by RealOne which I found my licence didn’t transfer to — I wasn’t even eligible for an upgrade price. At some point these companies seemed to forget it was about music. Music is recreation and generally a secondary activity. So it’s obvious the player should be good-looking (RJB and RO are most definitely *not* IMO), fast, easy and not use too much memory. Some cool features are nice (e.g. MusicMatch’s custom radio station feature or WMP’s minimise to the taskbar) but they’re extra. RealMedia once upon a time had a big advantage over Windows Media Player. They had captured hearts and minds: it was the Google of audio. But they blew it. They should sue themselves.

  2. Real has been in this boat for a long time – suing MS over this and that.
    Real is one of the few companies I outright despise. #2 on my list next to Gator/Claria. And they used to auto-install Gator without telling you even if you told them not to install anything but the player… Now my gripe is that they still annoy you with their stupid message center. Not to mention that they’ve always made it hard to find the free player on their web site. It took me longer to find it than to install and promptly uninstall the software.

  3. I agree with you about Real, but you can’t deny that MS is a problem. Dou you think that Flash will survive when Longhorn, XAML and Sparkle will be out? I don’t think so because they can embed their own "Flash" version in the OS. Mozilla is a better browser than IE, but it can’t compete. The situation is worst for any commercial software company. If MS decide that someone don’t have to earn from a software, then they embed their software in the OS and give it away for "free". Why NS collapsed? Because MS decided that from browser software no one had to earn a cent.

  4. "Why NS collapsed? Because MS decided that from browser software no one had to earn a cent. "
    Erm, do you know anyone who ever paid for a copy of NS?
    Netscape failed because they dropped the ball…they went for years without updates while MS innovated with IE. I was a NS user almost from the start but from version 3.x onwards, IE was simply the better browser. Even now Mozilla offers me nothing special that would make me want to switch from IE with the MyIE plugin.

  5. Faser,
    I have to disagree. Netscape took their eye off the ball. Do you remember how long it was between Netscape 3.x and Netscape 4? And when 4 finally shipped it was terrible! Netscape got sidetracked with a collaboration server and several other bad ideas, and ignored the browser (and HTTP server) for so long that Microsoft did not even need to make much of an effort to leapfrog them.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have lots to criticize Microsoft on, but I will not blame them for the demise of Netscape (or Novell, or Word Perfect, or Borland, or even Lotus). I have to draw a line between taking advantage of your competitors screw-ups and unfairly taking advantage, Microsoft has mastered the former, and that, like it or not, is called business.

  6. "I have to draw a line between taking advantage of your competitors screw-ups and unfairly taking advantage […] and that, like it or not, is called business."
    Well… yes and no. The problem here is that there should be a concrete business model involving a core product or service, and Microsoft has trouble keeping their hands out of everyone else’s pie. The key word – competitors. MS has a nasty habit of suddenly becoming your competition, even if it wasn’t in their arsenal before. They make an OS (for PCs, handhelds, and now phones), various software, game consoles, lots of hardware (mice, keyboards, game wheels, routers, ad nauseum), and tons of other things… what’s left for anyone else? It’s tough to compete against a company whose target market is ‘everybody’. Especially with such a horrible product 🙂

  7. Either way Microsoft just knows how to make money. The key is to make a product that is better than the next. If its good enough and offers enough features then people will eventually switch. Microsoft has become the giant business monster because other companies have yet to build anything that can beat their products. I don’t agree that all Microsoft products are the best, far from it, but none of their competitors have yet to build a product that even comes close. Instead of crying and letting the legal papers fly, companies should try and outdo Microsoft in the marketplace instead of the courtroom.
    Last but not least, anyone who has ever used both Windows Media Player and Real’s player will agree that Real lost this battle years ago.

  8. Have to agree with k
    Microsoft produces product after product after product, plus… (dramatic pause) their online support IS second to none.
    as for real… let’s not forget their spyware saga.
    BBC – please add windows media to your feeds.

  9. Exactly! It’s not often I send complaints to software companies but Real was certainly the exception. I would even go as far as saying Real was an early pioneer of ‘spyware’…these guys try and sneak processes onto your machine that pop up ads and such…Pissed me off so much my email to their support desk resembled hate mail more than anything else! 😉

  10. I agree with Ben and others, real player is a pain in the a**. Even if they paid me some cash to use it I would not due to its user software interaction (unless they would pay a lot of $ 🙂

  11. Nothing new to add, just more fuel to the already well-established fire that’s burning RA. They clearly have screwed themselves by screwing customers.
    Having experienced every pain in the neck Ben describes at the hands of RA, I feel no pitty for them.

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