IBM, Real forge digital media deal

IBM and RealNetworks are aligning digital media technologies to create a system for content owners to sell their assets electronically, in a partnership to rival a common foe: Microsoft.

The two companies announced Friday that they have forged a partnership to jointly build, market and sell a digital media management system. The product, available sometime in the second quarter of 2004, will let companies digitize, manage and secure their content assets, and distribute and sell use of those assets, without having to create the technology infrastructure from scratch, according to the companies. IBM and Real announced the deal at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "This will enable a lot of content owners who otherwise wouldn't be able to offer their content online to start doing it," said Real Senior Vice President of Marketing Dan Sheehan. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal is poised to help the two companies find new customers and revenue from digital media, analysts say. Content management and distribution is a market expected to be worth about $1 billion by 2007, according to research firm IDC. The move may also be a competitive strike against Microsoft, helping Big Blue and Real appeal to customers that want to find a digital media solution outside of Windows. Windows server systems and media delivery technology dominates the market, and Microsoft has been aggressive in its attempts to woo the entertainment industry with its media delivery system.

News source: C|Net

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