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RealNetworks Sues Microsoft Over Antitrust Issues 491

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the not-gonna-take-it-anymore dept.
jamacdon writes "Yahoo! has an article about RealNetworks Inc. filing an antitrust suit against Microsoft, claiming that MS has violated antitrust laws. This claim appears to revolve around how PC makers are restricted from including competing media players. Very similiar to the Internet Explorer issue, but different content. Will the results be the same?"
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RealNetworks Sues Microsoft Over Antitrust Issues

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  • It might werk. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by irokitt (663593) <archimandrites-iaurNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:06PM (#7759396)
    Real has a case there, because Microsoft is using the same tried-and-true approach that made IE what it is today. And the fact that they make it almost impossible to remove WMP in XP will make the case that much more believable.
    • Re:It might werk. (Score:5, Informative)

      by badriram (699489) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:10PM (#7759428)
      Not exactly, if you go to Add and Remove Windows Components, you can remove WMP. After the Anti-trust suit, microsoft also does not insist that no other media be installed by OEM. Plus Real just sucks....
      • Re:It might werk. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by irokitt (663593) <archimandrites-iaurNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:18PM (#7759503)
        Note I said *tried* to make it hard for us-it took a court order. You can remove access/shortcuts/etc. to it now, but the files remain. And WindowsUpdate will bug you about updates forever. And yes, Real sucks, but M$ is evil. And my enemy's enemy deserves a modicum of respect.
      • Re:It might werk. (Score:2, Informative)

        by evilviper (135110)
        Not exactly, if you go to Add and Remove Windows Components, you can remove WMP.

        No, it stays aroound forever, no matter what you do... It just hides when you tell it to go away.

        Go uninstall WMP, and then install any application that depends on WMP... Yup, WMP is still around.
      • Re:It might werk. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by greenrd (47933) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:23PM (#7759545) Homepage
        After the Anti-trust suit, microsoft also does not insist that no other media be installed by OEM.

        How do you know that for sure? Have you seen the OEM agreements?

        • Re:It might werk. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mundocani (99058)
          I wonder the same thing of the other side -- what's the evidence that MS is still practicing this behavior? There's nothing in the article which substantiates Real's claim that MS is still doing exclusive OEM agreements. I'd like to see a quote from the OEM agreement or even an OEM representative saying that this is true. In fact it's pretty easy to read the complaints described by the article as historical: that MS *was* doing this in the past and therefore Real wants to get paid.
      • Re:It might werk. (Score:5, Informative)

        by fermion (181285) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:44PM (#7759667) Homepage Journal
        Why does real suck? I use it on OS X and am quite happy with it. I can turn off most of the spy features. Most content I download actually works. Many of my favorite sites support it seamlessly.

        OTH, I do not even bother with WMP anymore. Nine times of ten there is a message about a needed update, a needed verification, or some website that must be consulted. WMP is wonderful at delivering eyeballs to advertisers to or 'protecting' digital content. As far as efficiently delivering good enough content to consumers, it fails totally.

        And I understand you may be talking about image quality or sound quality, but that is why I have quicktime.

        • Re:It might werk. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @10:01PM (#7759782) Homepage Journal
          Real on OS X and Linux is lightyears away from the Windows implementation. I'm not sure if RealOne improved things, but Real did become infamous at one point for the amount of sheer crap in the player. Loading it took an age because of the ads, despite the fact it was "already loaded" having put itself in your system tray on start-up.

          I always quite liked the Linux version. The OS X RealOne seems to be fairly similar and, thankfully, fairly free of spyware. Oh, sorry Gator Corporation, I meant "privacyinvadingware", because as we all know, if you say somewhere what you're doing, no matter how slimy, it's all perfectly ok to do it.

        • by tshak (173364) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @10:22PM (#7759893) Homepage
          Why does real suck? ... I can turn off most of the spy features.

          Case in point.
        • Re:It might werk. (Score:4, Informative)

          by AdamHaun (43173) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @11:14PM (#7760262) Journal
          WMP on Windows is hellishly fast. You're given a choice between the new interface(WMP9, fluffy) and the old one(WMP6, minimalist) on XP, and they're both equivalent in functionality due to the fact that they're actually just frontends for DirectShow. If you install a decent codec pack(I use Tsunami, but Nimo also seems to be popular), you'll never see another one of those update messages again. In my experience, ninety-nine out of a hundred problems people have with WMP are due to corrupt files and codec issues, not the player itself.

          Contrast this with Real: annoying to install(in one window, options that are on by default are listed BELOW disabled options, hiding them from view; no install-time option to disable the system tray icon), slower, more crash-prone...

          There's no reason to use Real over WMP on a Windows platform except to view Real content. Real content sucks anyway compared to DivX, XVid, QT, or MPG, but fortunately it has been on the decline for a long time. We can only hope that it disappears completely.

          The above is less true for QT, but since WMP is at least as good(I like it better -- less fluff), there's no reason to use it either except to play QT content. If it weren't for Real/QT[1] codec issues I could ditch both of their players completely. Mplayer on Linux supports all of them out of the box, thanks to whoever wrote the ebuild.
          • Re:It might werk. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Trepalium (109107) on Friday December 19, 2003 @12:21AM (#7760673)
            WMP on Windows is hellishly fast. You're given a choice between the new interface(WMP9, fluffy) and the old one(WMP6, minimalist) on XP, and they're both equivalent in functionality due to the fact that they're actually just frontends for DirectShow.
            Not exactly. If you want to play stuff created in Windows Media 9 format, you need to install extra software [microsoft.com] that isn't well advertised. In addition, WMP6 can't handle streaming media from servers that expect 7 or later. The only way to use version 7 streaming stuff is to use something like Gabest's Media Player Classic [sourceforge.net], which can also play Real, QT, Bink, and 'Matroska' formatted files if you have the appropriate codecs installed.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:18PM (#7759504)
      I also think it is unfair that bonzia buddy does not come pre-installed on my windows computer. How dare Microsoft corner the malware market with anti-compeditive monopolist tactics!
    • Re:It might werk. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NanoGator (522640)
      "Real has a case there, because Microsoft is using the same tried-and-true approach that made IE what it is today."

      You mean the tried-and-true approach of making a better product, then bundling it with Windows?

      Maybe if WMP played Real's format I'd see the point of this case, but I can't help but feel like we're seeing a company frustrated because they're losing.
    • Re:It might werk. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spectecjr (31235)
      Real has a case there, because Microsoft is using the same tried-and-true approach that made IE what it is today. And the fact that they make it almost impossible to remove WMP in XP will make the case that much more believable.

      Real has done the same thing. They also have lousy history of abusing customer privacy. And it's nearly impossible to remove it from my system, which arrived with it pre-installed.

      Do I get to sue them now too?
    • by kylef (196302) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @10:02PM (#7759792)

      I disagree...

      Have any of you used RealPlayer lately? While WMP 9 has been getting more and more functional in terms of quality and features (surround-sound media formats, HD-quality video, built-in ripping and encoding, a usable Media Library), RealPlayer has become progressively bloated, ad-ridden, and full of spy-ware. The fact that I have to search through the registry to disable the stupid "Real Message Center" background app is infuriating to me, and is the major reason why I avoid it and tell others to do the same.

      And the fact that they make it almost impossible to remove WMP in XP will make the case that much more believable.

      First of all, why must the two be mutually exclusive? I have both of them installed on my PC quite happily. When I double-click on a RealMedia file, the Windows Shell launches RealPlayer. When I double-click on a WindowsMedia file, the shell launches WMP 9. How is this "lock-out"?

      Second of all, how can there really be "lock-out" when there is so much competition in the Media Player market? Aside from iTunes for Windows, there is also Winamp 2/3/5, QuickTime, Sonique, Media Player Classic, and several other lesser-known ones. They all work great on Windows, and co-exist just fine with Media Player.

      The only argument I see here is Real whining that Microsoft should have to distribute RealPlayer for them. In other words, Media Player has an unfair advantage because it ships with Windows. Well, duh. But now the government should protect RealPlayer because it is not installed with Windows?

      Here's a suggestion for Real: Make a better player, and you'll gain market share the old-fashioned way. Through customers who WANT to use your software, not just because it's there.

      • by Ironica (124657) <pixel@boondo[ ]org ['ck.' in gap]> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @10:27PM (#7759920) Journal
        In other words, Media Player has an unfair advantage because it ships with Windows. Well, duh. But now the government should protect RealPlayer because it is not installed with Windows?

        Well, um, yes.

        This wouldn't be an issue if Windows wasn't such a huge percentage of the market. But what anti-trust consists of is using market leverage against competitors in a manner that they can't compete with.

        Fact is, MS would be able to happily carry on with behavior like this if Linux and MacOS grabbed a bunch of market share. Give them each, say, 20%, and bundling non-OS-related products with Windows is no longer an antitrust issue. But as long as the market is such that you have a hard time getting around having Windows, then it is unfair competition for MS to bundle other products with it.

        And you're right, that Real needs to improve their quality, or winning the suit still won't improve their sales... but back when Netscape was still better than IE, I knew a lot of people who liked NS better but "didn't bother" because they already had IE. Then Netscape couldn't sell anything anymore, and then they started to suck.

        Hm, maybe Real can convince a judge that *they* didn't suck until MS did this to them. It's conceivable... a long time ago I used RealPlayer without making a mess of my computer...
      • by zurab (188064) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @11:37PM (#7760382)
        Have any of you used RealPlayer lately? While WMP 9 has been getting more and more functional in terms of quality and features (surround-sound media formats, HD-quality video, built-in ripping and encoding, a usable Media Library), RealPlayer has become progressively bloated, ad-ridden, and full of spy-ware.


        Isn't that the point? That Microsoft doesn't make any money out of WMP, while Real's business is selling their player software and subscription? Microsoft can jack up price for Windows because they are a monopoly, they can literally enforce that OEMs don't negotiate with Real and forbid them to distribute RealPlayer while theirs comes preinstalled. Those facts are very close to Netscape's case.

        The fact that I have to search through the registry to disable the stupid "Real Message Center" background app is infuriating to me, and is the major reason why I avoid it and tell others to do the same.


        How is this relevant? You are saying "I don't like RealPlayer, therefore, laws should not apply." It's irrelevant whether you think RealPlayer is good software or not, or whether you recommend others to use it. That doesn't prevent Real from defending its rights when others abuse it.

        ... how can there really be "lock-out" when there is so much competition in the Media Player market? Aside from iTunes for Windows, there is also Winamp 2/3/5, QuickTime, Sonique, Media Player Classic, and several other lesser-known ones. They all work great on Windows, and co-exist just fine with Media Player.


        Also exactly the case with Netscape which could easily be installed next to IE. That's not the issue. I am guessing one of the main issues would be whether MS is locking out RealPlayer by forcing OEMs not to negotiate with Real.

        The only argument I see here is Real whining that Microsoft should have to distribute RealPlayer for them.


        You are getting this all wrong. Not Microsoft. They are likely complaining that they can't enter into contracts and arrangements with OEMs because MS forcefully forbids OEMs to do so. That would be a misapplication of MS' monopoly power with their Windows OS.
      • You don't get it. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jotaeleemeese (303437)
        A monopoly can not use its dominance to pedal more of his products.

        How can thick heads like yours grasp that idea? What other evidence of top of software compression (Stacker), browser (Netscape), Java (broken JAva VM machine) and now this do you need before you stop tht most stupidiest of excuses: the market hath spoken. Well, yes, chose head or tail, my secret is that the coin I am throwing has only two heads. That is your choice.

        MS should and is not free to put whatever they want in the OS because they
  • by ihummel (154369) <ihummel.gmail@com> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:06PM (#7759399)
    Maybe, but the situations are different. Real Media is still very much alive, while Netscape was pretty much dead in the Windows world when the anti-trust lawsuit finally was decided.
    • by oGMo (379) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:18PM (#7759502)
      Maybe, but the situations are different. Real Media is still very much alive, while Netscape was pretty much dead in the Windows world when the anti-trust lawsuit finally was decided.

      (Emphasis mine.) They were still very much alive when the lawsuit was started, however. Netscape was synonymous with the web for quite awhile there. It's funny how you say "netscape" now and people look at you like "what's that?"

      • True, but Netscape lost a lot of marketshare by continuing to charge for their browser up until 4.something when Microsoft was giving theirs away for free all along. They also really missed the boat with AOL; rather than take a loss in order to gain enormous market share, they demanded that AOL pay them. Not unreasonable actions in themselves, but in those circumstances it killed them.
        • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:52PM (#7759724) Homepage
          Micorosft didn't give it away gratis. It was part of the cost of Windows. It was no more "free" than, say, "WIN.EXE" is, or 'COMMAND.EXE', and so on. It's an app that is part of the OS's suite of standard Apps you can't entirely do without. It's not free - it's just that the cost is carried inside another product.
          • Micorosft didn't give it away gratis. It was part of the cost of Windows. It was no more "free" than, say, "WIN.EXE" is, or 'COMMAND.EXE', and so on. It's an app that is part of the OS's suite of standard Apps you can't entirely do without. It's not free - it's just that the cost is carried inside another product.

            True, but don't forget about other MS activities. Like bundling agreements with OEMs, who charged you for Windows even if you didn't want it or have them install it. (If they were even allo

          • Micorosft didn't give it away gratis. It was part of the cost of Windows. It was no more "free" than, say, "WIN.EXE" is, or 'COMMAND.EXE', and so on. It's an app that is part of the OS's suite of standard Apps you can't entirely do without. It's not free - it's just that the cost is carried inside another product.

            So by the same token, Real is screwed because WMP is part of the OS?

            If MS puts Money into the OS, then Quicken is out of luck? What about if they start bundling their own PDF writer... Adobe ha
  • Dear Real (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:06PM (#7759401)
    Dear Real:

    We still remember when you were selling our personal data. So even if we could get your player preinstalled in our computers, it would be the first to be removed.

    Your player is complete bloatware with one of the most misleading installs ever. thanks for the headache you rat bastards.
    • Thanx for remindiong me, Real just lost whatever image gain from me for this.
    • Re:Dear Real (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gcaseye6677 (694805) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @10:06PM (#7759817)
      No shit. In fact, I've always said that RealPlayer is the original spyware. Before this term was even coined, RealPlayer would take over your entire machine, send data about your usage back to the mother ship, and was a real bitch to get rid of. And no matter how many preferences you unchecked (be my default player, load on startup, run all the time, etc.) it would STILL be running in the background.
  • Forget It. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:07PM (#7759403)
    Netscape had the perfect case against Microsoft: "we'll cut off their air supply." What came of that? MS was found guilty, but the govt. decided not to do anything about it. How do you go up against that?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Man, cutting off Air Supply is a blessing. Those guys sucked so bad.
    • "Netscape had the perfect case against Microsoft: "we'll cut off their air supply." What came of that? MS was found guilty, but the govt. decided not to do anything about it. How do you go up against that?"

      Netscape's case wasn't so strong.

      The monopoly in this case was not found to have been illegally acquired, but only
      to have been illegally maintained. Therefore, rather than termination of the
      monopoly, the proper objective of the remedy in this case is termination of the
      exclusionary acts and practices r

  • by Talisman (39902) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:08PM (#7759413) Homepage
    This is like a steel cage match between bin Laden and Hitler. Who the hell do I root for?

    Is there a scenario where both can lose?

    Here's to hoping that the courthouse explodes.

    Tal
    • by pla (258480) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:29PM (#7759586) Journal
      This is like a steel cage match between bin Laden and Hitler. Who the hell do I root for?

      Y'know, I just pondered this for a moment, and find it somewhat odd...

      Years ago, back in the prime of the dialup days, we just couldn't hate any company more than AOL. Anything involving them might as well have had leprosy, as far as geeks felt.

      And yet now, with this tossup (WMP vs RealOne), I just realized that I currently use both a browser (Mozilla) and a media player (WinAmp) heavily funded by AOL.

      Strange, how times can change. And yet, if you asked me my general opinion of AOL, I'd still say they suck - But I suppose I have to thank them for sponsoring two pretty nice programs.



      Scary thought - Perhaps some day, we'll have to thank (gasp!) Microsoft for creating something nice for us? Eeeek. Time to go hide under the bed for a while.
      • Don't forget about AIM and ICQ. Many geeks may hate AOL, but they still use their IM network.
      • Years ago, back in the prime of the dialup days, we just couldn't hate any company more than AOL. Anything involving them might as well have had leprosy, as far as geeks felt.

        And yet now, with this tossup (WMP vs RealOne), I just realized that I currently use both a browser (Mozilla) and a media player (WinAmp) heavily funded by AOL.

        Strange, how times can change.


        Plenty of precedent for this.

        For instance: Back before home computers, when minicomputers were young (and expensive), IBM was the monster.
      • by Ironica (124657) <pixel@boondo[ ]org ['ck.' in gap]> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @10:44PM (#7760067) Journal
        Strange, how times can change. And yet, if you asked me my general opinion of AOL, I'd still say they suck - But I suppose I have to thank them for sponsoring two pretty nice programs.

        I was working for a small fragment of Turner Broadcasting (owned by Time Warner) when the AOLTW merger happened. And I have to say from that experience, and from what else I've seen of AOL, they're not really evil. Chaotic Neutral, maybe.

        Here's the thing... their main product sucks. It's dumped tons of people onto the internet that maybe we'd rather not have there. They've done their best to be the biggest, but mostly by littering our mailboxes, magazines, point-of-purchase displays, and what-have-you with coasters-I-mean-CDs.... which costs them money as much as it's a hassle for us.

        They treat their employees fairly well, and have a basically honest and moral business philosophy. Their dealings with Time Warner, which were overly optimistic and misguided on both sides, were still up-front and didn't give me any ooky feeling. When we were directed to install AOL on every single computer in our office (bad, bad idea, and one they finally gave up on), their techs commiserated with ours over the difficulties of installing AOL in a network environment (the 6.0 install would hang if there was a network card installed. Always. Unless you installed 5.0 first.)

        They're sort of like Electronic Arts... nice company to work for (in some ways), but I wouldn't want to do business with them. Though with AOL it seems to be general ineptitude balanced by blind luck, rather than anything malicious.
    • This is like a steel cage match between bin Laden and Hitler. Who the hell do I root for?

      Is there a scenario where both can lose?


      Yes.

      They could take it to court.

      B-)
  • Incompetent DOJ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jesus IS the Devil (317662) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:08PM (#7759414)
    Seems to me the DOJ is doing one lame ass job in enforcing antitrust laws.

    Ask yourself, how FAIR can competition be when one application gets deep penetration into the consumer market while others are locked out on purpose?
    • Granted I would not wish Real Networks on anyone. Frankly I hope they lose, it looks like they realized their model sucks and are falling back on the SCO model of income by litigation.

      Whats REAL going to claim in court? That their software is better than Windows Media? Get real, I don't think even the most anti-MS zealot could make that claim with a straight face. I spent half a day ridding my machines of Real Software, let alone trying to stop their damn spam afterward.

      Oh, lest I forget, it is eveel
      • by Fjornir (516960) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:50PM (#7759711)
        Fine, why not encourage these developers to develop for Linux instead? If their software is technically superior and wanted then this is the idea community for it.

        Real, at least for their server software is (or was...) almost entirely a Linux shop. Real helped Linux make inroads into the server market at a LOT of companies. I'm still under NDA so I'm only mentioning two of the ones I could find press releases for quickly, but this includes companies with great big satelite networks (PanAmSat for one), a couple of great big phone companies (like Deutshce Telecom)...

        Real also helped a lot in the fight to get Linux drivers for a whole bunch of video capture cards...

        ...doesn't excuse the shit they pulled, but...

      • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:57PM (#7759755) Homepage

        I don't think even the most anti-MS zealot could make that claim with a straight face.

        Real player sure works a lot better on my computer than Windows Media Player. In fact, it works an infinite percent better becuase WMP won't run at all.

        Of course, I'm not using Windows.

        Granted, that might look like zealotry, but that just shows ignorance to call it that. The fact of the matter is that one works (although, yes, it really is bad) and the other fails to do anything at all.

    • Re:Incompetent DOJ (Score:3, Insightful)

      by demachina (71715)
      I think you need to realize the DOJ is enforcing antitrust laws in accordance with the very pro big business bias of the chief executive for whom they work. Antitrust enforcement is a very political issue and it changes every time the politician in power changes.

      It was no coincidence that the last Microsoft antitrust suit had its legs kicked out from under it by the DOJ as soon as Bush and Ashcroft took power. Microsoft is a sacred cow to the Bush administration and nothing is going to be done to hinder
  • by autopr0n (534291) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:08PM (#7759416) Homepage Journal
    On the one hand, microsoft using it's monopoly is a bad thing.

    On the other hand, the sooner real networks dies and takes their horrible, ad-driven software with them, the better.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    does the "can't be prosecuted for the same crime more than once" rule apply here? hasn't ms already gone through this same essential complaint?
  • Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, MSN Messenger, "Microsoft Compressed Folders"

    and I'm sure there's more.

    But the respective competitors, Netscape/Mozilla, Quicktime, AIM/Yahoo/ICQ, and WinZip suffer directly because of this.

    Take Apple for instance, with Aladdinsys's Stuffit Expander. Instead of making their own, they just licensed to include Stuffit with the OS, which has undoubtedly lead to that company with good buisness.

    *sigh*

    -Henry

  • God... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnimeFreak (223792) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:11PM (#7759432) Homepage
    If Real didn't make their player so goddamn intrusive when it comes to computer use, I'd be happy to support them on this. I cannot stand the fact that whenever I launch the RealOne player, it puts its advertisement programme into the background, and I have to kill it and remove it out of the registry to from stop it from starting up whenever I login.

    Microsoft is in the wrong in this situation, but Real is worse by selling personal information, having a player that eats more than its fair share of needed memory, and including what may be spyware with its software. If this were Apple and Quicktime, I'd be more willing to go and support them on this.
  • again? (Score:5, Funny)

    by skydude_20 (307538) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:11PM (#7759435) Journal
    must i be stuck choosing between the lesser-of-two-evils again?
  • by Luscious868 (679143) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:11PM (#7759438)
    I don't know but given the speed of our court system, Microsoft's vast resources and the inventible appeals, I'd say we'll find out in about 5 - 7 years.
  • by hoytt (469787) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:11PM (#7759439)
    One could argue that Microsoft uses their monopoly position to strongly urge the OEMs not to include Real software. This would certainly be a violation of the settlement. It seems that Microsoft is still pulling the strings when OEMs need to decide what software to include with their computers. That's not a good thing.
  • by chrispyman (710460) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:11PM (#7759440)
    I dunno, I think that the real reason Real Player died out is more or less due to a lower quality program. True, Microsoft's bundling may have caused Real Player usage to decline prematurely, but it was inevitable that it would die out sooner or later.
    • by Strudelkugel (594414) * on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:22PM (#7759533)

      I think that the real reason Real Player died out is more or less due to a lower quality program

      That's for certain. I have Winamp, Musicmatch and iTunes on my PC, but I still refuse to load Real, even though BBC and other sites only offer video in Real format. Seems to me it will be hard to make a case for anti-trust when so many sites are exclusive to Real. Hmmm... Maybe Real is the monopolist! Seems ridiculous to accuse M$ of anti-trust issues when Dell puts Musicmatch on every consumer PC and Winamp and iTunes can be had with a few mouse clicks.

  • Nice and vague (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NanoGator (522640)
    "In a conference call with reporters, Kimball said RealNetworks damages could exceed $1 billion measured in lost business stemming from Microsoft's actions. The suit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent "further illegal conduct" by Microsoft."

    Lost revenue because Microsoft made an anti-trust move, or because Microsoft made a better product?

  • by melted (227442) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:12PM (#7759443) Homepage
    Mind your own business. Never in my life I've seen a piece of software as intrusive, spyware and ad-ridden and poorly written as Real Player. Face it, fellas, even if you force Microsoft to bundle RealPlayer with Windows it isn't gonna fly. First thing the customers will do is they will turn this piece of crap off, because it will try feed insane amounts of ads to them and pop up the god damn notification thingy to remind you that even though it's not doing anything useful at the time it's still taking up 10M of RAM and some processor resources while also trying to upsell you on the crap you could care less about.

    Good god, I don't want them to win. I'd hate to have to remove this shit from my newly purchased PC.
  • Real one spyware. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nilisco (730538)
    My dislike of microsoft is easily outdone via real and their wonderful ad ridden software. Go microsoft!
  • by JohnTheFisherman (225485) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:13PM (#7759458)
    Try specing out a Home/Home office Dell PC where they DON'T CRAM REAL PLAYER DOWN YOUR THROAT.

    At least it's optional in the business computers. I really don't see that they have anything to complain about.
    • They gave me Liquid Audio Jukebox when I got my laptop from them. It was an ad-laden piece of shit, so I deleted it immediately. IMO, WMP9 is a better product than Realplayer or Liquid Audio, with very straightforward privacy settings. However, haven't OEMs been putting Realplayer on computers even before the MS antitrust trial?
  • IT'S NOT FAIR!

    We have to steal our users' privacy to make any money!

    WE'LL SUE!

  • frivolous lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stevyn (691306) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:17PM (#7759494)
    This lawsuit is crap. This is not like the browser wars where microsoft took on netscape and used it's power to crush them. Real player is just some bad proprietary format that people don't like. The audio was bad and the video was horrible. They never took off because no one distributed their formats because of choice. And I remember on old windows versions how microsoft included real player, but then since no one wants it anymore, no one cares that it's gone.

    I'd like to see where they could come up with "billions of dollars of damages" on a free player. What, they were going to rake in billions from their expensive encoders and streaming software? Real's out because of divx, mpeg, and quicktime, not microsoft.

    And how many times have people here gone through the task of removing the real player? I think of it as the original spyware, tough to kill. You couldn't pay me to put it on my computer.
    • Well, if you want any media that the BBC produce you need real player. In fact, no you don't. You can also use:

      * Real Alternative (Media Player Classic with the Real codecs)
      * The GPL Helix Player (yes, Real Networks GPL'd a lot of the source, plus give away the binary license for their codecs).

      Granted, WMP files just look nicer(tm), but this isn't about technology and formats (or their relative merits), its about allowing manufacturers to choose what they want to include on computers they are buildin
    • Re:frivolous lawsuit (Score:3, Informative)

      by kavau (554682)
      Careful, careful! The lawsuit does not say that Microsoft's violation consists in not including Realplayer in Windows. It says that PC makers were restricted (by Microsoft's action) from including programs like RealPlayer, if they wanted to.

      It doesn't matter whether RealPlayer is crap, spyware, or what. If Microsoft used their monopoly position to strongarm PC manufacturers into not installing the product on their PCs, then this is indeed a violation of antitrust laws, and Microsoft should be prosecuted!

  • Its a pity that they didnt coordinate all of these at once. You know if they had filed suit against Microsoft from multiple angles (Internet, AV Media, etc. (i am sure there will be more down the line)) it would have had a much more devastating effect and had much more of a chance of stringent regulations being impossed on microsoft. but no one takes the path of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
  • by LordP (96602) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:23PM (#7759544) Homepage
    Judge: Members of the jury, do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?
    Jury: Your honour, we find the defendant ... [buffering]
  • by sparks (7204) <{moc.silibateal} {ta} {drofwarca}> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:24PM (#7759556) Homepage
    ...you find yourself siding with Microsoft in an antitrust lawsuit

    You know a program REALLY sucks when...

    ...you find the rest of Slashdot agrees with you!

  • by kneecarrot (646291) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:26PM (#7759569)
    Maybe it will cost me some Karma... but this is a gem:

    TO: Real Networks
    SUBJECT: Fuck You All

    I am holding myself back in the most intense way at the moment.

    I don't care if this is the wrong address to send this to. Your website is a labyrinth of misdirection in which finding the simple thing you want is nigh-impossible. This, after about 20 clicks, was the first email address I came to. If you, as the person receiving this letter, have a shred of humanity left, you will submit this to the proper people. And now, on to my letter.

    Where do you people get off?

    My task: download Realplayer in order to view some streaming content. A simple project, one would say. Well, first you have to wade through the aforementioned sea of misdirection, all of it aimed at extracting your visa number to buy the completely useless realplayer plus. I realize you people need to make some money, but save it for the server business - it's bad enough that back in the day, you were inferior to several other streaming technologies, but somehow, like scum in water, you rose to the top. Leave the users who are stuck with your products out of your sick little power games.

    All I want is Realplayer Basic, to play realmedia, and ONLY realmedia. I am not interested in realjukebox, realdownloadagent, or realbuttplug. I specified this when I was installing it. I also am not interested in having your inferior product play my mp3s, or any format other than your own. This was also specified when I installed. How difficult a concept is this? Anyone can grasp it. And I won't even get into the god-knows-how-many useless "subscribe to our spam service!" checkboxes I have to uncheck, including five which are HIDDEN AT THE BOTTOM OF A STACK OF UNCHECKED ONES. With each click, the bile rises higher in my throat. If I knew a satanist, I would have him summon demons to terrorize your offices.

    So then, I go to launch an mp3 out of Agent, and not only does your software launch even though I SPECIFICALLY TOLD IT NOT TO DO THAT, but it's not even Realplayer - it's Realjukebox which I also SPECIFICALLY TOLD IT NOT TO INSTALL.

    And here's the real point: if you're going to go ahead and do a fascist coup of my system's preferences and resources (getting your filthy little icons out of my system tray gets more difficult with each new version), why bother pretending that you are giving me a choice? Just go ahead and take it, save me the trouble of unchecking all those boxes and saying No 20 times. Just go ahead, play your little game, and let me get on with removing your annoying system resource wastes from my pristine desktop.

    In closing, I would just like to say that I view your company as the most evil force operating on the internet today, and while I would end this with "may God have mercy on your souls" for anyone else (including Bill Gates), for you, I only pray that the people behind your software's design are raped by syphilitic camels at some point.

    Burn in hell.

    • Pun inadvertent, but what the heck

      I sic'd the state attorney general on them when they had a premium service with few-click signup for a free trial. To unsubscribe, there was a web page. That did nothing. After I entered my unsubscribe info, the page digested it and then gave me a phone number to call.

      Completely bogus barrier to cancel. The AG contacted them, and they replied that it's an accepted practice by such paragons of virtue as AOL.
    • RealPlayer v8 Basic for windows download link [real.com] No jukebox, no Plus crap.
    • Please cut and copy the above the parent post to" public_relations@real.com or any or all e-mail shown here: http://www.realnetworks.com/company/contact/index. html#feedback
    • Thank you for making public my private thoughts without me having to go to the trouble of all the typing.

      Real do, however, offer a particularly useful service. They help define the line between what's acceptable to install on a work PC and what's not. Now, most of you will disagree with this, but it's based not only on privacy and annoyance but also system stability and the latest versions of Real are fairly stable: RealOne is the worst acceptable thing to install on a work PC. Don't install anything w

    • I must be, because I have had none of the problems all of you are screaming about. I just installed the free version (which was found in three clicks, not twenty -- RTFW) and instead of choosing "typical install" I customized it to not install anything I didn't want. End result is a player that plays the .RM files I want it to when I click on them, nothing more. Message center can be disabled in the program's options, not by going through registry madness.

      I do not work for Real, but I am a fan of the te
  • Anyone.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by herrvinny (698679) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:28PM (#7759585)
    Anyone here use RealPlayer?

    Personally, I think it's a bloated piece of crudware. It pops up zillions of ads for garbage, the player's slow, ...; there are a million reasons. I used to respect Real; they used to be a good company. But now that their marketshare has declined, they're going and taking advantage of all the people who do use RealPlayer. The only reason people bother having RealPlayer on their systems is to play streaming broadcasts encoded in Real codecs, and now, most sites offer streams in both Windows Media Player and Real formats. Look at Amazon, they offer samples from music cds in Real and WMP format [amazon.com].

    Anyway, this lawsuit has no merit. My Dell laptop came preloaded with MusicMatch, WMP, and RealOne! Three video/audio players! Nobody needs that much. Standardize on maximum 2. I uninstalled RealPlayer because it was so worthless...

    Consider this two thumbs way way down for Real.
  • by lurker412 (706164) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:31PM (#7759598)
    One can only hope that this is a long, expensive legal battle that weakens both parties.
  • by interstellar_donkey (200782) <pathighgate.hotmail@com> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @11:22PM (#7760306) Homepage Journal
    These days, now that we've learned that the gee wiz of having something to do with computers isn't enough to spell success, there are a few very simple rules for doing business that I wish companies would learn.

    1. Don't piss off your customers
    2. Your product, perceived or otherwise, has to be better then your competitors.

    Real follows neither of these rules, and this lawsuit appears to be nothing more then a last ditch effort to gain capital. It is a reality that if a company has no other business model then to offer an inferior product and expect customers to either pay for it or suffer egregious violations of their privacy, when they are a few mouse clicks away from something better that is free, that company will fail. It's just common sense.

    Normally a company run with such a bad business model would die away without notice, but Real has entrenched itself on the server end with its proprietary format. They have this because they were one of the first (if not the first) to show up with streaming audio back in the day.

    I can remember responding with amazement the first time I got streaming real audio. They were the first through the door and got the brand reconciliation, bringing organizations like NPR with them with this new technology. And they squandered it away. It's sad, but it's the real world (excuse the pun).

    Unless Real can come up with a technology that bests the free alternatives in quality and does so without being intrusive to the users privacy or computer system, they will die, lawsuit or otherwise.
  • by supabeast! (84658) on Friday December 19, 2003 @12:55AM (#7760961)
    Does it really seem realistic to expect Microsoft to not include a media player with Windows? Mac OS has come with Quicktime forever, and now includes iTunes. All of the Linux distros have come with a suite of multimedia applications for years. If anything, Windows Media Player shows that there IS competition out there, and that Microsoft is having to add new features to keep up. Tough shit for Real if that means having another competitor to help choke those last few death rattles out of Real's crap products.

    Further, Windows Media Player is just an evolution and consolidation of the various CD/Wav/Video playing tools MS has been adding in including since the Windows 3.1 days, updated with newer codecs and a better UI. Windows is not cheap, and adding newer, better features is necessary for Microsoft to continue adding customers. Real never bitched back when the Windows multimedia stuff was a few different programs under "entertainment," and for them to say that Microsoft is violating antitrust laws now for providing something that consumers got used to a long time ago is just a load of crap.

    Of course, I guess when you're running a company that's trying to make money selling that shitty RealOne player, you'll do anything to get the stock price up.
  • by Stonent1 (594886) <stonent@NospAm.stonent.pointclark.net> on Friday December 19, 2003 @01:01AM (#7761016) Journal
    I hate having to install it every time I get a new job. I don't know if it has spyware, but it sure feels like it. There's so much crap that comes hanging on to it (I think the last time I loaded it, it put some AOL things on the computer)
  • by m0nkyman (7101) on Friday December 19, 2003 @01:44AM (#7761325) Homepage Journal
    Jesus folks, Netscape was *crap* by the time IE started eating their lunch(remember blink tags? ). Why? Because they had to create revenue. Same reason that Real sucks donkey balls through a straw. Look over there is a shiny penny! When the next cool thing comes along and Microsoft starts knifing the baby again, you idiots will be reminiscing about how poor Real(which you'll remember as way better than WMP 12) got killed, but this product is crap and deserves to die.

    WMP, and IE are better, faster and less intrusive because they're funded out of revenues from something else. The coders just have to focus on making the program better. They don't have to worry about a revenue model.

    Of course WMP is better than Real. That's the fucking point you bozos. Microsoft doesn't have to play by the same rules because they are funding WMP through the Microsoft tax. Real One has to make money.

    The only people that can beat Microsoft are us Open Source folks because we don't worry about a revenue model either.

    I'll agree that a pox on both their houses is in order, but Microsoft is abusing their monopoly in exactly the same way that they did to cut off Netscape's air supply and knife the baby.

  • by stealth.c (724419) on Friday December 19, 2003 @02:35AM (#7761627)

    EULAs; Contracts; Restrictions; DMCA; DRM; Spyware

    Sneaky WMP agreements; unfixed IE insecurities; Outlook worms; No December Patches

    IE Antitrust; European Commission; SCO; Now this.

    All of the above have been helped along by the idea of proprietary software. Ever since I came home for Christmas to a house full of Windows machines, I have been inundated with examples of how cumbersome, expensive, restrictive, frustrating and downright ANNOYING proprietary software can be. Why do people put up with this?!

    Real's suit against Microsoft is among these examples. MS wants a closed, system where All The World is a Windows PC, and RealNetworks needs to make money with its proprietary media player. And because megacorporations are often without conscience, Real has no recourse but to sue these monopolists!

    The longer I watch the Industry, the more proprietary software strikes me as the runaway train fueled by the residual billionaires of IT's infancy. The computer industry has been riddled all its life with IP infringement lawsuits. Open-Source can serve as the step to maturity that gets us out of that ludicrous, litigous business model.

  • by FullCircle (643323) on Friday December 19, 2003 @05:34AM (#7762316)
    Ok, so why are we worried about WMP? Every user needs a media player. Real can go out of business.

    And browsers, everybody needs a browser, so who cares. Netscape can go out of business.

    And CD burning software, everybody needs that these days. Ahead can go out of business.

    Office software? Everybody needs that, so Corel and Lotus can go out of business.
    Microsoft should simply bundle MS Office with Windows and save us another purchase. Oh, most OEM's do that already?

    Games? Heck, Microsoft makes those too! Why do we need other companies for games and consoles?

    Movies? Everybody watches movies, Microsoft should develop a way to watch hi-res digital movies! Oh, they did?

    Microsoft has been looking for a CPU design team too...

    At what point is the monopoly so strong that you people quit whining that it is "just application X and everyone needs it"?

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