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Monday, July 26, 2004

Build It Great And They'll Interoperate

Jon Healey's stories for the Los Angeles Times are always interesting, and today's is no exception: Music Industry Taking Cues From File Sharing. Among the developments chronicled there, Healey previews RealNetworks' new strategy (due out tomorrow) of making its files compatible with other player platforms.

In the meantime, RealNetworks Inc. is trying to chip away at another advantage of the pirate networks by making it easier to play legally downloaded songs on any device the consumer chooses, provided it uses anti-piracy technology from Real, Apple Computer Inc. or Microsoft Corp.

On Tuesday, the Seattle company is expected to unveil software that can transfer songs bought from Real's store to any MP3 player or other gadget. Other stores support only one kind of anti-piracy technology; for example, Apple's iTunes Music Store works only with Apple's iPods.

Real's 'Harmony' technology will give people who buy music the same flexibility as those who download it illegally, said Richard Wolpert, Real's chief strategy officer.

This means Real's tunes will be playable on your iPod (and tacitly acknowledges that if they weren't, you'd have precious little reason to buy them). PCWorld has more, including speculation about how Apple will take this, and Slashdot gets right to the point: Real Networks Hacks iPod...

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