Hey Real Networks, leave our iPods Alone! sign now

In 1995, Real Networks, Inc. pioneered the Internet media industry with its innovative streaming audio and (later) video products. In an era of text based Web communications, you brought the Web alive and made it sing, talk and dance. To this day, your products remain the technology of choice for many users wishing to view online, streaming media.

In the last few years, numerous portable digital music players have become available for consumers, but none with the undeniable appeal, quality and easy of use of Apple's iPod. It has revolutionized an entire industry and made what was once an illegal activity (downloading music from the internet) completely legal, safe and even fun! The Apple iTunes music store is a breath of fresh air in a cluttered market of poorly designed and weakly supported Web sites trying to sell digital music. Apple's tight control of quality has (as it always has) resulted in a near perfect online shopping experience that integrates with a near perfect hardware music player (the iPod). The iTunes store has one of the largest online catalogs available with more content (much of it exclusive) going online every week.

In recent weeks, you have been campaigning against Apple Computer's decision to retain quality control over its highly successful iPod line and not open it up to third party competitors such as yourself. You have resorted to "hacker-like" tactics to put music on the iPod much as a virus might invade a computer, ensuring your customers a very negative experience when Apple attempts to protect its quality control by enforcing its formatting standards. The methods you are proscribing could certainly lead to problems for legitimate iPod owners who unwittingly install your software. Are you willing to support the millions of iPod users who might have support issues or do you expect Apple to field these calls?

Do the right thing, Real Networks, Inc. We urge you to continue producing quality streaming media solution for the Web or better yet, stimulate the still growing digital music arena by bringing your own quality product to market. We consumers do want a choice, but we also want a trouble free solution for digital music that is free from problems, glitches and corporate politics.

We urge you to drop your campaign of petitions and blogs - all thinly disguised as "Freedom of Music Choice" when we all know it really means - "Hey we want a share of the iPod pie too but don't want to innovate for it."

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Maurice OlsenBy:
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Real Networks, Inc.

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