2004 Dumb Business Moves: Real Harmony

Inspector Lee

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 24, 2004
East Lansing, MI
In its latest issue, Business 2.0 released the 5th annual "dumbest moments in business" with RealNetworks snagging 3 of the top 10 spots.


7-9 If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
In April, RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser—seeing his online music store struggling to compete with Apple's iTunes because it's not compatible with the iPod—e-mails Steve Jobs suggesting that he open the iPod to other purveyors of digital music. The e-mail is immediately leaked to the New York Times, which interviews a surprised Glaser. "Steve is showing a high level of fear," he says.

If you can't beat 'em, and you can't join 'em, encourage people to whine about 'em.
Still peeved that Apple won't allow the iPod to play downloads from his online music store, Glaser launches an online petition urging Apple to open up. He quickly pulls the petition offline when he discovers that most of the signers have left strident pro-Apple comments.

If you can't beat 'em, and you can't join 'em, and you can't get people to whine about 'em...put out some half-baked software that forever alienates potential customers?
Not backing down, Glaser offers a software hack that allows iPods to play songs purchased from Real. Apple blasts its rival for exhibiting "the ethics of a hacker" and warns iPod users that future updates to its software will render the Real songs unplayable. But it turns out that if Real is acting like a hacker, it's not a particularly talented one: Several Real customers report that the software fills their screens with ads and crashes their computers. In November an Apple software update blocks the hack.
Side note: Glaser looks like a complete pork chop...

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