Apple's real problem

As we all know Real has released a beta version of its software called Harmony. Harmony allows users of Reals online Music Store to transfer their files to their iPod in Reals Music Store format. Before Real developed Harmony iPod owners were limited to Apples iTunes Music Store (unless they converted it to a compatible iPod audio format). With Harmony iPod owners can now buy songs off of two music stores Apples and Reals. While Real is gloating about their new technology, I'm sure Apple isn't sitting back and relaxing.

What do you get when one company aligns with another company, against the second company's will?

You get a situation resembling the story that broke Monday, when Real Networks debuted its Harmony software, which lets users of Real's digital-music service play their downloads on a number of new devices, most notably Apple's iPod.

Apple intended the iPod and iTunes to be a closed system, allowing no other company to sell iPod-compatible downloads. To be sure, eMusic offers MP3 downloads that play on iPods, but eMusic's subscriber numbers amount to a rounding error in the digital-music world. An Apple spokesperson wouldn't comment on Real's software or how the company would react. "There's probably a certain amount of broken furniture at Apple headquarters," says Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research. "I think they're trying to figure out what to do."

News source: CNN Money

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