Apple heated over Real's Harmony

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple Computer on Thursday issued an official statement on RealNetworks' Harmony software, which will allow users to play songs purchased from RealNetworks' music store on the iPod.



In the brief statement, Apple said, "We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA and other laws. We strongly caution Real and their customers that when we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real's Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods."



In March of this year, RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser exhorted Apple to open up the iPod to additional file formats during a panel discussion at PC Forum. Glaser said "that Apple is creating problems for itself by using a file format that forces consumers to buy music from Apple's own iTunes site. Because Apple's iPod music player does not support other proprietary music formats and does not license its own format to rivals, Real's Rhapsody and other song sites are blocked from easily reaching iPod users. Apple's (market) share will go down if they continue to do this."



With no favorable response from Apple, Glaser e-mailed Apple chief Steve Jobs a month later, pleading for the formation of a "strategic partnership" in which RealNetworks would obtain a license for Apple's Fairplay Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. In return, Glaser said that RealNetworks would make the iPod its primary device for the Real music store and its RealPlayer software.



Apple was less than interested and quickly shot down RealNetworks' offer, also denying Glaser a meeting with CEO Steve Jobs to discuss the matter.



On Monday, RealNetworks announced its Harmony technology, that when released will allow users to play music bought and downloaded from its online music store on the iPod. To create Harmony, RealNetworks created a way to translate songs downloaded from Real's store from Real's Helix DRM scheme to an equivalent of Apple's FairPlay when loaded onto an iPod.



Earlier today, RealNetworks began threatening to license its Harmony Technology to the many digital online music stores.



In an anonymous e-mail to AppleInsider this morning, one source claims that Apple has already assembled a small software engineering team that will focus on disabling RealNetworks' hack.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 96
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Oh this is going to get mighty interesting. *sits down with a bag of popcorn and watches*
  • Reply 2 of 96
    agreed. very interesting. i keep thinking, isn't this type of thinking what hurt Apple in the PC race? i think they should have licensed the technology. iPod owners will still favor the Apple Store. but they could really corner the MP3 player market if they licensed FairPlay.



    --

    lance
  • Reply 3 of 96
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    Glaser said "that Apple is creating problems for itself by using a file format that forces consumers to buy music from Apple's own iTunes site. Because Apple's iPod music player does not support other proprietary music formats and does not license its own format to rivals, Real's Rhapsody and other song sites are blocked from easily reaching iPod users. Apple's (market) share will go down if they continue to do this."







    It plays AAC, MP3, Audible, WAV... yup, seems to be creating one hell of a problem for Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 96
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rlindeman

    It plays AAC, MP3, Audible, WAV... yup, seems to be creating one hell of a problem for Apple.



    THANK YOU! i just got finished posting this in another site, but it bears repeating (and because i just want to hear myself type...)



    (*************************)



    The mythical "closed" iPod



    you know what really irks me? it's that real and even the news keep harping on "oh, the ipod can only play apple's itunes music, and that's not fair..."



    no, no, No, No, a MILLION TIMES NO!!!!!!



    you know how you play non-iTunes Music Store purchases on an iPod? you go to the friggin' record store and do what you did before the iPod existed... YOU BUY THE CD AND RIP IT TO AN MP3.



    THAT, my friends, is apple's counter to ANY argument about how "closed" the iPod is, or for a friend of mine who is still in OS 9 and is mad that Apple' is "making" him upgrade in order to buy songs. um, no. they're just telling you to do what you've been doing all along. sure, the EASY WAY is also APPLE'S WAY, but how the heck is that unfair? even if they don't get you to buy ANY songs from the iTMS, Apple is STILL giving you an MP3 encoder for free download. what, you want them to hold your non-mousing hand for you while you rip 'em???



    anyway, i know i am preaching to the choir here, but it bears repeating every once in a while.
  • Reply 5 of 96
    macnut222macnut222 Posts: 100member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rok

    THANK YOU! i just got finished posting this in another site, but it bears repeating (and because i just want to hear myself type...)



    (*************************)



    The mythical "closed" iPod



    you know what really irks me? it's that real and even the news keep harping on "oh, the ipod can only play apple's itunes music, and that's not fair..."



    no, no, No, No, a MILLION TIMES NO!!!!!!



    you know how you play non-iTunes Music Store purchases on an iPod? you go to the friggin' record store and do what you did before the iPod existed... YOU BUY THE CD AND RIP IT TO AN MP3.



    THAT, my friends, is apple's counter to ANY argument about how "closed" the iPod is, or for a friend of mine who is still in OS 9 and is mad that Apple' is "making" him upgrade in order to buy songs. um, no. they're just telling you to do what you've been doing all along. sure, the EASY WAY is also APPLE'S WAY, but how the heck is that unfair? even if they don't get you to buy ANY songs from the iTMS, Apple is STILL giving you an MP3 encoder for free download. what, you want them to hold your non-mousing hand for you while you rip 'em???



    anyway, i know i am preaching to the choir here, but it bears repeating every once in a while.




    Personally, I think the 'closed iPod myth' is just FUD (what else is new) that is spread around by the losers in this market (read: everyone BUT Apple). Thankfully, the average consumer seems to be smarter when choosing a portable music player than they do buying a computer.



    You know it irks those companies to see a computer company that is written off in so many ways totally dominate this new arena.



    One last thing. Raise your hands if you're gonna miss Real once Apple mops the floor with 'em?



    (crickets chirping)



    Thought so.
  • Reply 6 of 96
    The iPod will only play "protected" AAC files from iTms.



    That's REAL's issue.



    When apple sees the necessity to license fairplay they will. Not a moment sooner.



    That?s Apple?s issue.
  • Reply 7 of 96
    ajmasajmas Posts: 558member
    The issue is that of DRM. The companies want to be in a position to make money and please the recond companies. DRM works for them, as long as they are in control of it. In the long run, what hurts customers hurts competing vendors.



    Myself I will not buy any DRM music, since it limits where and how I can listen to my music. Nor will I buy 'copy protected' CDs that also limit the manner in which I can listen to my music. This means online stores, such as iTunes and Sony Connect will not have my business and any artists who's CDs are copy protected won't either. Another reason for not getting into online music is that you pay for an inferior version of the recording.



    DRM is ugly and it is a potential tool for creating a monopolies. DMCA is also a tool with a potential for creating monopolies. We are currently having our choices dictated by big business. I like Apple, but there are certain things that I will not accept, no matter the company.



    At the same time Apple does need to loosen up a little, with regards to Fair Play. But how much is up to them and how much is up to avoiding problems with the record companies, it is hard to tell.



    For me its a matter of principle.
  • Reply 8 of 96
    kenaustuskenaustus Posts: 910member
    I personally would like to express my appreciation to Real for their timely release of Harmony. We still have 32 days before the iMac is going to be announced and need something to keep our minds busy so the days will go faster.



    Apple is going to vigorously defend their intellectual rights related to the ipod, iTunes and The Music Store in the courts, where Real is probably going to pay more in legal fees than they earn from downloads. It will probably end up as a case study in MBA programs and students will have a ball tearing Real to pieces for being that stupid.



    What is probably most important to Apple is protecting their control over their integrated music offering. They have spent a lot of time, money and the resources of some very talented, innovative people to develop their hardware & software and they are going to protect it with the same vigor as they do their Macs. Actually, the iPod is very much like a Mac. Designed by Apple to be not only different, but better. And just like the Mac the iPod provides a great user experience, especially when compared to the competition.



    The other important thing to remember is that Harmony may be a piece of crap. Just because Real says it is wonderful doesn't mean it is. I would LMAO if using Harmony is the equivalent of infecting your computer with a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Reply 9 of 96
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Ken explains it all too well.



    Apple is doing what they've always done: creating an excellent user-experience for people that buy their products.



    I don't think they want some punk-ass motherfucker shit all over the controlled ecosystem they built. Harmony allows people to wander out of the beautiful sunny neighborhood and into the neighborhood full of prostitutes, drugs and crime. Not very harmonious, IMO. The user-experience is broken when things like that happen.



    I don't blame Apple on bit for what they're doing.



    And I don't blame Microsoft and AOL and Yahoo one bit for changing their protocols to foil 3rd-party IM clients...sure the 1st-party clients suck ass but the companies are trying to keep a clean community but it's being polluted by strangers.
  • Reply 10 of 96
    playmakerplaymaker Posts: 511member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    Ken explains it all too well.



    Apple is doing what they've always done: creating an excellent user-experience for people that buy their products.



    I don't think they want some punk-ass motherfucker shit all over the controlled ecosystem they built. Harmony allows people to wander out of the beautiful sunny neighborhood and into the neighborhood full of prostitutes, drugs and crime. Not very harmonious, IMO. The user-experience is broken when things like that happen.



    I don't blame Apple on bit for what they're doing.



    And I don't blame Microsoft and AOL and Yahoo one bit for changing their protocols to foil 3rd-party IM clients...sure the 1st-party clients suck ass but the companies are trying to keep a clean community but it's being polluted by strangers.




    Nice Analogys, I think its important to state that the experience while being almost gauranteed using iTunes is comprimised when using 3rd party translation tools. Apples reputation is also comprimised by the iPods ability to play or not play the songs translated through Harmony and possibly at a subpar quality than otherwise purchased on the iTunes music store. I personally dont see or understand the reasoning behind someone buying an iPod and then wanting to go someplace else to purchase the music aside from the occasional artist who isnt available at the ITMS. All things being the same whats the reason anyone would want to use an iPod with one of these other sites....I havent seen anyone whoring out songs at $.25 or anything.
  • Reply 11 of 96
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    Ken explains it all too well.



    But you still felt the need translate...



    Quote:

    I don't think they want some punk-ass motherfucker shit all over the controlled ecosystem they built.



  • Reply 12 of 96
    Not like REAL EVER got mad at anybody for messing with their formats, like Streambox or anybody. I mean, they never sued anybody to shut that type of behavior down or anything...
  • Reply 13 of 96
    macsrgood4umacsrgood4u Posts: 3,007member
    This can turn into a real (pun intended) public relations fiasco for Apple. Constantly revising the iTunes software to disable songs people have downloaded from Rhapsody to play on their iPods could bring class action suits. Glaser, to my thinking, really has Apple between a rock and a hard place on this. The legal ramifications are not clear either. The best Apple may be able to do is get an injunction to have Real cease and desist. Then it could turn into a long battle until one party flinches. Even though I dislike Glaser and his way of doing business, he may eventually win this. Time will tell.
  • Reply 14 of 96
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    To me, Real did this whole thing out of malice when Apple decided to not license FairPlay.



    Real may win in the courts if Apple did sue but nothing's stopping Apple from revising the firmware or even crippling iPods that are found with Rhapsodized songs. What's stopping Apple from doing that? Blizzard does it with cheaters and hackers in Diablo 2...CD keys are suspended or banned completely. Wouldn't you be mad if you bought an iPod and, because you're not playing fair (haha, pun not exactly intended), you lose privilege to use your iPod the way you're supposed to?



    If you can't scare the Big Boys...scare the users.



    If this hacker behavior is tolerated, Apple should just reverse-engineer Real codecs and distribute them with QuickTime.
  • Reply 15 of 96
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    I don't know guys. This sounds like a Little-guys-fighting-a-monopoly sort of thing to me. Yes, the iPod can play MP3, AAC, and Apple's uncompressed format, but there are a lot of other formats out there whether you like them or not. Apple owns the #1 portable music player and now actively prevents you from using anyone else's other online music store. That eerily resembles a cretin software company we all love to hate.



    I think Real may have a case here.
  • Reply 16 of 96
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Ebby

    I don't know guys. This sounds like a Little-guys-fighting-a-monopoly sort of thing to me. Yes, the iPod can play MP3, AAC, and Apple's uncompressed format, but there are a lot of other formats out there whether you like them or not. Apple owns the #1 portable music player and now actively prevents you from using anyone else's other online music store. That eerily resembles a cretin software company we all love to hate.



    I think Real may have a case here.




    Can't blame 'em if they want to keep a sane user-experience environment. Real has nothing.



    Apple is not a monopoly just yet. A lot of things can happen in the next 3 years. If Apple doesn't play their cards right today, MS could take over when their service is out and I don't think they'll be worrying about stepping on anyone's toes.



    What do you prefer...that Apple maintains their stance (even though it seems harsh for others) so that they're guaranteed to be established in 3 years...and then license out...or allow MS to trample Apple once again? If MS tramples, kiss AAC, iTMS and good user-experiences goodbye.
  • Reply 17 of 96
    ajmasajmas Posts: 558member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Playmaker

    I personally dont see or understand the reasoning behind someone buying an iPod and then wanting to go someplace else to purchase the music aside from the occasional artist who isnt available at the ITMS. All things being the same whats the reason anyone would want to use an iPod with one of these other sites....I havent seen anyone whoring out songs at $.25 or anything.



    So you're telling me that you bought a JVC TV set and only expect to get transmissions from JVC, or that you bought a Panasonic CD player from Amazon and therefore should only be buying your music from Amazon or Panasonic? Since when does anyone buy a device and then expect not to have the right to choose what they do with it afterwards?
  • Reply 18 of 96
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Ebby

    I don't know guys. This sounds like a Little-guys-fighting-a-monopoly sort of thing to me. Yes, the iPod can play MP3, AAC, and Apple's uncompressed format, but there are a lot of other formats out there whether you like them or not. Apple owns the #1 portable music player and now actively prevents you from using anyone else's other online music store. That eerily resembles a cretin software company we all love to hate.



    I think Real may have a case here.




    Oh pleeeze! Its nothing like the Microsnot situation. Its a spoiling play by a company on its way down the toilet. It needs carful handling by Apple in a PR sense but in reality nothing is goiing to come of it. Its a joke.
  • Reply 19 of 96
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ajmas

    So you're telling me that you bought a JVC TV set and only expect to get transmissions from JVC, or that you bought a Panasonic CD player from Amazon and therefore should only be buying your music from Amazon or Panasonic? Since when does anyone buy a device and then expect not to have the right to choose what they do with it afterwards?



    Totally false analogy. Seems to be a common problem around here at the moment.
  • Reply 20 of 96
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ajmas

    So you're telling me that you bought a JVC TV set and only expect to get transmissions from JVC, or that you bought a Panasonic CD player from Amazon and therefore should only be buying your music from Amazon or Panasonic? Since when does anyone buy a device and then expect not to have the right to choose what they do with it afterwards?



    Those are by far the worst analogies I've seen. None of your post makes any sense.



    There are restrictions on many devices out there. If you buy a Sony digital camera, you're forced to buy Sony MemorySticks. If you buy a Net Walkman, you're forced to use ATRAC3.



    If a company says you have to use a product a certain way, and you agree by buying it, then it's your problem if you want to use it some other way.
Sign In or Register to comment.