Apple, RealNetworks Lack Harmony

Apple Computer says it plans to investigate RealNetworks' "hacker tactics" to "break into" its iPod players. The company today said it was "stunned" at Real's recently unveiled compatibility technolog

Apple Computer says it plans to investigate RealNetworks' "hacker tactics" to "break into" its iPod players.

Earlier this week, RealNetworks unveiled "Harmony," a technology that makes tracks from its RealPlayer Music Store compatible with Apple's iPod.

Apple today (July 29) released a statement saying: "We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] and other laws. We strongly caution Real and their customers that when we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real's Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods."

Before the development of Harmony, music from the Real download store was not compatible with iPod due to the companies' competing digital rights management standards.

In a statement, RealNetworks counters that Harmony "follows in a well-established tradition of fully legal, independently developed paths to achieve compatibility."

The company says it "is delighted by initial consumer and music-industry support for Harmony. Compatibility, choice and quality are critically important to consumers, and Harmony provides all of these to users of the iPod and over 70 other music devices, including those from Creative, Rio, iRiver and others. RealPlayer Music Store provides the highest sound quality of any download music service. That's why so many consumers have welcomed news of Harmony. Consumers, and not Apple, should be the ones choosing what music goes on their iPod."

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