本周的Jackass:Rob Glaser

永远不会确定what to make of Rob Glaser, CEO of Real NetworksAs his company’s digital media technologies fall further behind Apple’s and Microsoft’s (at least in terms of popularity), he frequently pipes up in the press with ridiculous statements about Apple and its products — statements so patently false that I’m always left with the impression that he’s either a moron or a liar. (My money is on liar.)

I’m willing to cut him some slack because it’s his job as CEO to be an advocate for his company and its shareholdersI certainly don’t expect him to stand up and admit that Apple has them lickedBut that’s no justification for just making shit up.

这带给我们的是这次采访是格拉泽in The Guardian, by Kate Bulkley一些选择片段:

TG: One could look at Real and say you are becoming the Sun Microsystems of players, i.eyou don’t have the critical mass to make sure you get the right content and the right number of users.

RG:我认为这在数学上并不正确I don’t think it is going to be a winner-takes-all gameI think we’ll have good share and Microsoft will have good share, and there may be one or two othersI think particularly as we move into a time where consumers want content to work on multiple platforms, the strong early position we have built on the mobile media market will help us on the PC as well.

I wonder who might be included in those “one or two others”? Hmm…

Glaser has a habit of positioning Microsoft as Real’s only worthy rivalBut one thing that these journalists and interviewers never seem to mention is that Glaser spent 10 years at Microsoft, working his way up to a position as “vice president for multimedia systems”, according to这是1997年在连线中的简介Not to mention that Real signed a bunch of vaguely-defined “伙伴关系” with Microsoft this past October.

TG: Apple has 65% of music downloads in Europe according to Jupiter Research你怎么竞争?

Rob: We assume that this failure of other companies besides Apple to create really compelling portable devices is not a long-term phenomenon[But] before that happens it would be jumping the gun to push a portable subscription service in Europe.

Translation: “We’re fucked, because there aren’t any cool gadgets that play our DRM-protected audio formats.”

TG:因为你无法与Apple的iTunes竞争?

RG: We can compete but isn’t it better to wait until you have a slam dunk solution in the portable context?

等一下The longer Real waits, the more iPods Apple sells, and, uh, somehow that’ll make it easier to succeed at some unspecified point in the future.

TG: So you will be facing a situation where you are way behind Apple?

RG: Compare our strategy to Napster’s where they got into Europe in some markets before Apple but I don’t think with a service that was compellingApple is using the iPod as a pull for track sales and for Mac sales, and since the track purchase business is not a primary business for us our attitude is, let’s focus on our core business and build up from there.

And Real’s core business is what? “Waiting”?

TG: But Apple’s model is to make money on the sale of devices, using music to drive that — and it is working.

RB: Apple has gotten away with this approach to a greater degree than we thought they wouldThe music industry has made a mistake, not by agreeing to Apple’s fixed-price level (79p per track), which is what gets all the attention, but by allowing Apple to create devices that are not interoperable.

And the music industry could have stopped this how? No, really: how? By, what? Not allowing their music to be sold through the ITMS in FairPlay-protected format? That would have slowed iPod sales how? iPod sales are driving people to use the ITMS, not the other way around — and Glaser himself admits this just two paragraphs earlier.

音乐产业在iPod的成功中没有任何作用。

And, they (that is, the music industry) already sell music in a popular interoperable format: the compact discThis is not rocket science.

(Glaser, continued): If you want interoperable music today, there is a very easy solution: it’s called stealing.

看起来有人还在读“iPod谈话要点” memos from Redmond.

(Glaser, continued): The average number of songs sold for the iPod is 25, and there are many more songs on iPods than 25. About half the music on iPods is music obtained illegitimately either from an illegal peer-to-peer networks or from ripping friends’ CDs, which is illegalBut it’s the only way to get non-copy protected, portable, interoperable music.

And these so-called “friends” are probably shoplifting their CDs, right?1

As for peer-to-peer networks being the “only way” to get non-copy-protected music, that’s just patently falseThere are plenty of online music stores that are completely interoperable with all portable players — because they don’t inflict their customers with DRM例如。emusic.com, where the downloads are in plain-jane MP3 formatThese stores may not have music from most mainstream recording acts, but that’s because the major record labels refuse to sell downloadable music in non-copy-protected formats.

I’m intrigued by Glaser’s strategy of accusing millions of prospective customers of being dishonest thievesI’ll bet it’ll work out just as well as Real’s “let’s wait another couple of years” portable player strategy.


  1. 与娱乐业宣传相反,它是在美国非法为朋友制作一份CD副本你是否可以从CD上翻录音乐并合法地与朋友分享这些翻录的歌曲文件,这是有争议的,但是你可以分享CD的副本并允许他们自己翻录歌曲看到Ed Felten的这篇文章欲获得更多信息。↩︎

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