RealNetworks Previews RealOne Platform

Shedding the code-name "Viper," RealNetwork's RealOne Platform is spearheading the effort to regain lost influence amidst stiff competition from arch rival Microsoft. Alpha builds of Viper have circulated around the Internet for some time, leaving those lucky enough to obtain a copy with the impression that major changes were in the works for Real.

Two separate products, RealPlayer and RealJukebox were merged together into one with a drastically overhauled interface. It was also apparent that a major push was planned for a subscription service, called "GoldPass."

When asked about Viper earlier this month, RealNetworks refused to comment on the rumors. However, an alpha feedback form was accessible on the company's Web site, indicating the existence of Viper. Real instead pointed BetaNews toward Rob Glaser's upcoming keynote address which was held this past Monday.


In his address, Glaser -- chairman and CEO of RealNetworks -- laid out the foundation for RealOne. Shortly thereafter, an abundance of information became publicly available for the first time, as well as a public preview of the software. In a bid to become more developer friendly, content can now be authored using standard Internet languages. Real is also providing development tools and services free of cost.

Within 60 days GoldPass, which enjoys in excess of 400,000 subscribers, will be propped up and rechristened RealOne Service. The subscription services are tightly integrated into RealOne's interface, and constitute a bold move toward embracing a subscription based revenue stream.

According to Glaser, "RealOne Platform will empower our partners to create a new generation of digital media businesses. By combining the many ways that people enjoy and interact with digital media, and by steering use of the Internet toward integrated, compelling audio-visual content, RealOne Platform will fundamentally change how consumers and creators of content will relate."

Recent studies reveal that RealNetworks has fallen into a deficit in terms of its overall users for its players. Jupiter Media Metrix has reported that there are over 24.7 million users of Windows Media Player, while RealNetworks garners nearly 24.4 million. This fall in market share has taken place prior to the launch of Windows XP, which includes rich new multimedia features.

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