Apple Disabling RealNetworks Harmony Technology

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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A CNET news.com story claims that iPods will no longer be able to play tunes purchased from the RealRhapsody online music store operated by RealNetworks, which relies on technology named Harmony to allow their digital-rights-managed music to play on iPods. There was no doubt that Apple wanted to disable or defeat this technology, given Apple's statement in July that RealNetworks was using the "tactics and ethics of a hacker".
Apple Computer has quietly updated its iPod software so that songs purchased from RealNetworks' online music store will no longer play on some of the Mac maker's popular MP3 players.

The move could render tunes purchased by many iPod owners unplayable on their music players. For the last four months, RealNetworks has marketed its music store as the only Apple rival compatible with the iPod, following the company's discovery of a way to let its customers play their downloaded tunes on Apple's MP3 player.
It is not clear which iPod software updates contain or will contain this change, which has not been mentioned in any of Apple's software update notes. The last iPod software update was November 18, but did not apply to all iPod models, so some iPods, particularly the iPod mini and iPod photo, may already be unable to play RealRhapsody-purchased music.
 

Doctor Q

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Sep 19, 2002
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Apple has said nothing about this, but RealNetworks has already reacted:
RealNeworks said in a statement that it remains "fully committed to providing consumers with the freedom to use the music libraries they purchase from us on different portable audio devices they acquire, both now and in the future--including the iPod photo."
 

jimjiminyjim

macrumors 6502
Feb 24, 2003
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Canada
For a smaller company, I'd probably side with Apple... but the way Apple has become such a market leader, I'm feeling a little unsure as to who I'd stand with, if I was asked to.
 

Noiseboy

macrumors regular
Dec 25, 2002
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Lurking nearby.
Stick it to Real I say. They've just been asking for it to happen.
You have feel a little sorry for people who are perhaps not as tech savvy as us lot who have spent money on tracks they won't be able to play without really knowing what they were doing. Or am I being too soft hearted?
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
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real is just using iPod's popularity to its advantage, while giving nothing back to apple. it's pretty clear who needs the other more in this case...

real can do whatever it wants. so can apple. and real has no real grounds to complain...

is there any compelling reason iPod users would purchase songs from real instead of iTMS?

addendum: in 3 weeks of half priced promotion, real sold 3 million tracks. iTMS does that in less than two weeks, while charging 99 cents... :rolleyes:
 

Gear_media

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2004
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Edmonton, AB
Good. Real deserves this.

I'm sorry for those that have purchased the Real files but at the same time the amount of news about Apples reaction in the first place should have been enough of a warning.
 

Doctor Q

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There was a previous discussion about whether Apple could make this change, given the way Apple combines standards with a proprietary implementation. Since Apple wouldn't license Fairplay to Real, Real used reverse engineering to mimic it. So an interesting question is how, technically, the iPod software determines that a given tune is from Real?
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
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Sod off
Like it or not, this is the way it always goes - it happened with Virtual Game Station.

I really don't think there are that many people out there who just love their iPod but don't use iTMS because of Real's service. To those that do, my condolences, but I consider it an acceptable loss in the face of the fact that Apple wants to win the music download market war - and they have yet to face M$.
 

SiliconAddict

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2003
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Chicago, IL
Damn. :( I was hoping my iPod Photo would be susceptible to Real's Crap. I wanted to go update my iPod and feel good about the fact that I'm not aiding an ***hole company leech off of Apple.

 

Loge

macrumors 68030
Jun 24, 2004
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So if the iPod photo has never been able to play Real's tracks, and it's only just come to light; well it says something about how many tracks they sold.
 

Puchembo

macrumors newbie
Dec 14, 2004
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North Dakota
Stopping Cross Platform Suckage

Before I made the very good switch into Mac'land I had already given up on Real Networks brand of corporate spyware. I am glad that Apple is attempting to shield its users from a company such as REAL. My iPod mini (green) proudly sports the brand.
 

wookitus

macrumors newbie
Jan 7, 2004
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why?

Why do people give this a positive rating on the macrumors front page? Who benefits from this besides Apple? I can't see how consumers do.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
It's up to Apple to say how, when, and even IF other companies get to share in their success with iPod and/or iTunes. And when the time is right for that (I think it will happen one day--NOT now), then Apple will do it themselves. They'll do it with OFFICIAL support and they'll get paid.

Real's right in general that "choice is good for consumers," but by using Apple's iPod BEFORE Apple is ready, and not paying Apple, they are NOT providing a good long term product. Real is helping themselves, not customers.

It will be amusing to see the statements that come from Real, though :D They love to go on about choice and "freedom," while their own products offer no such thing :D
 

Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
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Time to come to a common DRM standard, an open standard controlled by a committee and not a single company so we can download from whatever online music store we want and play our music on favourite digital player.

Let market forces decide on the best music store / mp3 player instead of companies protecting themselves. An open market.

Its going to happen eventually.. but not soon enough.
 

ahamilt2

macrumors member
Sep 20, 2004
32
0
Bellingham, WA
Don't bother

Sure, Apple can do whatever it wants, and so can Real as long as they don't violate any patents. However, if Apple is so confident in the quality of its offerings, why bother with blocking Real from the iPod? Having to compete with Microsoft forced Apple to focus on making it's products that much better in order to stay alive. Competition drives innovtion, but it seems as though Apple is shying away from that philosophy. The only real end result of letting a competetor on the iPod would be a better product from Apple.
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
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Stella said:
Time to come to a common DRM standard, an open standard controlled by a committee and not a single company so we can download from whatever online music store we want and play our music on favourite digital player.

Let market forces decide on the best music store / mp3 player instead of companies protecting themselves. An open market.

Its going to happen eventually.. but not soon enough.
it's more or less an open market at this point. iPod is the #1 music player. and that's an open market. iTMS is an added feature. and online music stores haven't gotten to the point (perhaps never will) where it's the deciding factor in the choice of the music player.

do you care if you will pay 10 cents less per song in download, when you are trying to decide between a couple of mp3 players costing $200-300? i don't think so.

as long as iPod is the #1 player in the open market of mp3 players, any attempt to justify piggybacking on iPod's popularity (such as real's) is not for the consumers, but for said piggybacking company alone. :rolleyes:
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
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ahamilt2 said:
Sure, Apple can do whatever it wants, and so can Real as long as they don't violate any patents. However, if Apple is so confident in the quality of its offerings, why bother with blocking Real from the iPod? Having to compete with Microsoft forced Apple to focus on making it's products that much better in order to stay alive. Competition drives innovtion, but it seems as though Apple is shying away from that philosophy. The only real end result of letting a competetor on the iPod would be a better product from Apple.
because if they let it go, they risk real damaging apple/iPod's reputation. also, if iPod doesn't work with a real-purchased song, guess who they will be calling? both real and apple support. why should apple support tech be bothered with telling its iPod users that the real formats aren't supported?
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
3,735
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Nermal said:
Yes. If Real comes to NZ before Apple does, guess who I'll buy from.
right, IF they come to NZ first. they haven't. that's a potential reason. not a compelling one at this moment...

but very true. there have been some places where non-iTMS made it first, no?
 

Loge

macrumors 68030
Jun 24, 2004
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Stella said:
Time to come to a common DRM standard, an open standard controlled by a committee and not a single company so we can download from whatever online music store we want and play our music on favourite digital player.

Let market forces decide on the best music store / mp3 player instead of companies protecting themselves. An open market.

Its going to happen eventually.. but not soon enough.
Alternatively, the content providers could drop their insistence on DRM and offer music right away that would play on the iPod, or any other player. A few already do, to their credit.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
ahamilt2 said:
if Apple is so confident in the quality of its offerings, why bother with blocking Real from the iPod?
1. Because iPod and iTunes are integrated system--and a much better, easier-to-use, and reliable music experience as a result. Letting another company's bugs in the door, and removing iTunes from the process, dilutes that quality and harms Apple's brand. (It's not just about the store--Harmony users can't use iTunes as their jukebox/library manager even! And then iPod-specific features that are connected to iTunes are lost as well. It's a mess, and one that some users and reviewers WOULD incorrectly blame Apple for. Better that Apple share the blame for not allowing the "choice" to have that mess.)

2. Because Apple wants to be able to CHARGE companies to use the iPod. They are offering no such option yet, but it's their right to collect that money when and IF they feel the time is strategic to do so.

3. To show to other companies in other negotiations that they won't be bullied, like Real has tried to do.
 

Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
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Canada
When it comes to an iPod + online music stores ( which is what I was trying to say ) its not such an open market because you can't buy online music (without conversion from WMA) just from anywhere, it HAS to be iTunes if you want to listen to that music on iPod.

Even worse if you have a Mac because microsoft couldn't be arsed to port the latest WMA DRM.

For me, online music stores is important, but isn't important for everyone, as you say. I have an iPod, live in canada and use a Mac so I couldn't buy music online until the arrival of iTMS.

I want the freedom to use any online music store and play the material on my iPod. Unfortunately this is not possible.

jxyama said:
it's more or less an open market at this point. iPod is the #1 music player. and that's an open market. iTMS is an added feature. and online music stores haven't gotten to the point (perhaps never will) where it's the deciding factor in the choice of the music player.

do you care if you will pay 10 cents less per song in download, when you are trying to decide between a couple of mp3 players costing $200-300? i don't think so.

as long as iPod is the #1 player in the open market of mp3 players, any attempt to justify piggybacking on iPod's popularity (such as real's) is not for the consumers, but for said piggybacking company alone. :rolleyes:
 

JGowan

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2003
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Mineola TX
jimjiminyjim said:
For a smaller company, I'd probably side with Apple... but the way Apple has become such a market leader, I'm feeling a little unsure as to who I'd stand with, if I was asked to.
Jimjiminyjim, whose side do you stand on in this issue between song compatibility with REAL music and Apple music players?