Who needs a scorecard for these players?

Who needs a scorecard for these players?

: Rob Glaser and Real are gunning for Steve Jobs and Apple, trying to portray Apple as the big, bad corporate monster trying to mess with consumers’ freedom.

Tough sell, Rob.

The problem is that Real has messed with its consumers since the beginning. Your software sucks. You make it impossible to find your free product and trick people into buying the product they don’t want to and then you try to make it even more impossible to cancel that product. Your buggy software completely messed up my Treo and I’m not going to risk you messing up my iPod. Rob, your credibility with consumers is swiss-cheesey.

Apple, meanwhile, is the first company to make digital music work. Apple did what you couldn’t do, Rob.

But having failed to come off as Prince Charming against Dark Prince Bill Gates, Glaser is trying the same poor-pitiful-me shtick against Jobs. He has an ad campaign out today. He started a blog (amusingly, with a new spelling of “blogisphere,” not that I’m here to defend that word) and the promise of a weekly Q&A with Glaser called “Rock on[,] Rob.” He’s also trying to undercut the entire industry with 49-cent songs, admitting that he’s losing money on every sale. Good for those who get cheap songs. But spite does not a product — or a business plan — make.

: UPDATE: Rafat Ali reports that Real took down comments from the Real blog. The comments reportedly weren’t flattering.

  • So he’s gonna lose money on every sale… but he’s gonna make up for it in volume.

  • Angelos

    It is true that Apple has hurt itself by being so insular; if they had licensed their MacOS to hardware makers years ago, Windows would have some real competition. But, that’s their choice.
    If limiting the iPod to a proprietary compression format prevents them from selling an extra 10 million units, they have to take the medicine. But just maybe, that proprietary format, and the DRM controls built into it, are what helped them convince music companies to open their libraries to digital sales.
    I have no use for portable music players, but I’d buy an Apple product any day over any piece of garbage, hardware or software, Real puts out.
    “Freedom of Music Choice” my ass. Who’s stopping anyone from choosing anything? Anyone marginally educated in digital music will know what his options are.
    And the choice is, always: anything but Real.
    My advice to all the people who ask me for technical help is: keep an copy of Media Player 6.4 around. It Just Works, to borrow a phrases from Jerry Pournelle. No frills, no delays, no problems.
    Real is a no-no. Quicktime is also an intrusive resource-hog, slow and low-quality. Media Player has the best quality, but the higher the version, and the more “features” they add, it gets slower and more crash-prone. Stick with 6.4 and you’ll view anything you need to, as long as you have the right codecs around.

  • Joe Sims

    I’m just waiting for Apple to write an applet that allows Real content to be viewed and/or listened to in QuickTime. Then Glaser will start crying like the whiny bitch that he is. If Jobs wasn’t recuperating from surgery from pancreatic cancer, he’d probably go over to Glaser’s house and beat him over the head with his PowerBook. Or maybe “Rock On Rob” wasn’t a punctuation error; Perhaps it’s referring to the avalanche of bad business karma that Real is fomenting by going after Apple…

  • I must be missing something because I don’t understand why one would necessarily lose money on 49 cent downloads.
    Royalties are typically 4% to the songwriter, 14% to the performers. They are percentages of final sales price.
    What gives?

  • Tom

    Because, as folks like Rafat Ali have pointed out, the “cost” is estimated at approximately $.89/song.

  • Sound like you guys want (drum roll please…)
    Real Alternative

  • There is also a Quicktime Alternative. both programs use Media Player Classic

  • GCW

    I ^#$%&ing HATE Real. Jeff, you’re right on. They have been slimy masters of the ninja-upsell, desktop and system-tray invaders, and file-reassociation sneaky petes, since day 1.
    As far as Apple, I’m not a fan of the iPod because I want more control over my own music files and don’t want to mess with a proprietary system…but their AirPort system is something I’ve been searching for for over a year. I actually walked into the Apple store nearby this weekend to check it out, something I’ve never done before.

  • Joe Sims

    you may not know this, but the iPod can play AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 (32 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible, AIFF, Apple Lossless and WAV. Granted, Apple Lossless and Audible are both proprietary formats, but unless you’re trading Phish concerts in FLAC or running Ogg Vorbis on Linux, the iPod gives you more flexibility than any other digital music solution.

  • It’s worth reading the comments in the petition REAL put out at petitiononline.com. Highly amusing and less than flattering but it appears to be down now.
    I am probably alone in this but I actually quite like the REAL codec. I’ve developed content to be streamed in REAL and they were extremely helpful, their integrated PowerPoint slide streaming technology very useful.
    Windows Media is an awful, awful, awful format to encode to. Compare a QuickTime and a WMA video file at the same bitrate, it’s a difference like day and night. Where QuickTime is clear and crisp WMA pixelates and stutters. Unfortunately QuickTime for PC used to be a resource hog and, rightly, suffers from that bad reputation.
    REAL is important IMO, just as a third choice between WMA and QuickTime. I listen to the BBC online a fair bit and never had any problem with the free REAL player.
    I agree with all the comments denouncing the business model of course.

  • Angelos

    You’re right, Andreas, WMV format is bad, but in Media Player Classic I can play all sorts of AVI, DivX, etc., without the need to accept cookies, Tinkerbell, and other tracking crap from Real.
    And IrfanView plays and displays everything I’ve thrown at it, so that might be the best alternative at all.