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Apple Attacks RealNetworks Plan to Sell IPod Songs

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Apple Attacks RealNetworks Plan to Sell Songs for iPod


Published: July 30, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO, July 29 - Apple Computer sharply criticized RealNetworks, the maker of media-playing software, on Thursday, saying it was investigating the legal implications of RealNetworks's decision to sell songs in Apple's music format. It accused RealNetworks of adopting "the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod."

Apple issued its angry statement just four days after RealNetworks started giving away software called Harmony that lets people download songs from its online music store and play them on Apple's popular iPod portable music players, as well as players using Windows Media Player and the Helix format from RealNetworks. RealNetworks quickly shot back with its own strongly worded response, vowing to continue letting consumers play songs bought on its music service on any of the 70 music players on the market, including Apple's iPod.

"Consumers, and not Apple, should be the ones choosing what music goes on their iPod," executives of Real Networks said in a statement. "Harmony follows in a well-established tradition of fully legal, independently developed paths to achieve compatibility." The statement added, "There is ample and clear precedent for this activity, for instance, the first I.B.M.-compatible PC's from Compaq.''

While RealNetworks is the first company besides Apple to sell songs in the protected iPod format, other companies sell them in the MP3 format, which the player can also use.


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