RealNetworks is lobbying Apple Computer to join forces against Microsoft in the digital-music market, according to a published report.

RealNetworks is lobbying Apple Computer to join forces against Microsoft in the digital-music market, according to a published report.

RealNetworks chairman/CEO Rob Glaser reportedly sent an e-mail to Steve Jobs last week imploring the Apple CEO to make the iPod compatible with Real's RealPlayer Music Store. Real wants to license Apple's FairPlay digital rights management technology in exchange for making the iPod the default device for Real's software, the report says.

Glaser reportedly hinted to Jobs that if Apple does not license its DRM, Real will explore opportunities with rival Microsoft.

In January, Real launched an á la carte download store that offers tracks in the AAC format, the format supported by Apple, rather than its own Real Audio format. Also as part of the rollout of its download store, Real released an updated version of its RealPlayer music-management software that is compatible with tracks from iTunes Music Store.

However, the move was not approved by Apple, and tracks sold through Real's store are not compatible with the iPod due to Apple's proprietary DRM technology. Thus, consumers can use Real's software to manage iTunes tracks and transfer iTunes music to the iPod. However, they cannot transfer tracks purchased through Real to an iPod.

RealNetworks had no comment.