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Steve Jobs puts on his Darth Vader helmet

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The latest enemy to face the tech equivalent of “The Wrath of Khan” is poor Rob Glaser at RealNetworks.

Real’s not doing so hot lately.

I note that when I download video clips these days, they always seem to be in Quicktime or Windows Media Viewer format.

RealPlayer seems to have dropped off the virtual map.

That bodes ill for Real. For real.

Anyhow, RealNetworks has hacked Apple’s music software code, so that shoppers at its online music store can buy songs and put ’em on their iPods.

When Real announced Monday that it was giving away software called Harmony that allowed people to download songs from its site onto their iPods, Apple said, “No comment.”

Clearly, they’ve studied the hack, and decided it’s time to strike back.

Apple yesterday said it was “stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod.”

Earlier this year, Glaser sent Apple CEO Steve Jobs an email seeking ways to make their digital music systems compatible.

Basically, Steve said to Rob, “Eat shit and die.”

Now Glaser has decided it’s do-or-die time for Real.

RealNetworks replied to Apple’s statement that “Harmony follows in a well-established tradition of fully legal, independently developed paths to achieve compatibility.”

RealNetwork’s statement added, “There is ample and clear precedent for this activity, for instance, the first I.B.M. compatible PCs from Compaq.”

But Apple had the last word, stating, “When we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real’s Harmony technology will cease to work.”

Which update will occur quite imminently, I guarantee you.

Once that happens, all the money you’ve spent at Real’s store to buy and download music will be wasted, since, as Don McLean noted many years ago in his classic, “American Pie,” that’ll be “the day the music died.” At least, in your iPod.

I find it enormously amusing to see the one-time hacker king, Steve Jobs, he who, for years, bragged about the legendary “blue boxes” he created as a teen-ager, along with his best bud Steve Wozniak, to make free long distance calls, is now determined to destroy a hack on his creation.

I guess being a billionaire changes your perspective a bit.

This is so similar to how an intense love affair, once it goes bad, becomes rage, sometimes leading to murder.

Strong emotions are dangerous, powerful, earth-shaking things.

There is nothing more frightening than a devotee who recants.

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About bookofjoe

  • Dear Mac Diva,
    I could hardly take anything from your posts, since I never read them.
    Nor do I read any posts on Blogcritics.
    The fact you’ve posted something is very nice, but who cares?
    Do you want credit for them?
    Re: my sources: all my information was derived from yesterday morning’s Wall St. Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post, including the direct quotes from Apple and Real.
    Get a life.
    Joe Stirt

  • Eric Olsen

    Mac, your posts on this are indeed fine and much appreciated, but this news is all over the media. What makes you think he took anything from your stories?

    Joe, what are your news sources for this story? That would solve the matter.

  • Microsoft Issues Security Update For ‘Harmony’ Hack


  • I’ve written two accurate, up-to-date entries about the Real v. Apple controversy. You can read them here and here. Also, if someone is going to use content I recently posted in his own entry, I would appreciate being credited.

  • I don’t feel at all sorry for Real. They have some of the most intrusive software “options” on installation of anybody with Real Player. Everything is checked, it’s almost all an “opt-out” philosophy which is very invasive and offensive to users. Yeah, yeah “it’s free, so we can do secretive, sneaky things to you” is not a good business philosophy. Hopefully they will change this philosophy or they’ll go the way of the dinosaurs.

    At the same time I don’t think it’s cool what Apple is doing either, but I have no sympathy whatsoever for Real, bookofjoe.

    IMO, The beginning of the end for Real was the loss of the MLB contract. That was the one reason I ever had to even remotely be interested in Real.