Oops! Real Networks got schooled this week by hardcore Apple supporters. Real Networks was forced to pull down an online petition demanding Apple open up its FairPlay DRM technology after Apple fans hijacked the petition.
The Real Networks Petition Against Apple
The Real Networks’ petition calls for Apple to “support the right of your own customers to make their own choices about where they buy music” for your iPod or MP3 player. “Don’t lock us into purchasing digital music from one source,” the petition demands. “That’s bad for competition. It will stifle innovation. And it will slow the adoption of digital music devices like the iPod.”
Your company has long stood for innovation and open competition. Wasn’t it Apple that ran the famous Super Bowl ad encouraging consumers like us to stand up for our right to choose when it comes to personal computers? We’re asking that you do the same now and support the right of your own customers to make their own choices about where they buy music for the iPod. We want Freedom of Music Choice! Don’t lock us into purchasing digital music from one source. That’s bad for the competition. It will stifle innovation. And it will slow the adoption of digital music devices like the iPod.
Do the right thing. Stand with us for Freedom of Music Choice!
Apple Fans Stand Up To Real Networks
Apple fans were obviously unhappy about the petition. They posted so many anti-Real Networks comments that Real Networks had no choice but to abandon the original petition. Real Networks then later reposted the petition, however, this time they disabled the ability for users to post comments.
Apple Fans Start Their Own Petition Against Real Networks
Not only did Apple fans force the removal of the petition, but they even started their own anti-Real Networks petition, which now has triple the signatures of the anti-Apple petition.
To: RealNetworks Inc.
We, The Undersigned, believe the Real should cancel their latest publicity stunt which seems to be an entirely self-centered move to keep themselves in the Music Download business rather than (as it purports to be) an act of Consumer-driven expression. We also believe that Real’s move to cancel their previous petition by adding another without comments seems to be stifling some consumers’ voices in choosing a different download service, which seems rather at odds to their supposed message.
We do not necessarily believe that there should not be freedom of consumer choice in music is wrong or that projects such as Hymn are morally or legally corrupt but feel that Real is choosing a shameless stunt geared towards their own ends rather than somehow championing the consumer.
Real Networks’ Petition Against Apple’s Proprietary Music Ecosystem
Why are the folks at Real Networks upset with Apple? Because the iPod and iTunes are made to work together with each other, not other 3rd party services, like Real Networks. This puts Real Networks at a major disadvantage. Music purchased from Real Networks isn’t as easy to add to an iPod as music acquired from iTunes. So Real Networks started this petition in an attempt to gather support for their agenda.
Is This Petition Really About The Best Interests Of Music Fans Or Real Networks?
Honestly, this Real Networks petition comes across as a little desperate for the company. As iPod sales have clearly demonstrated, Apple’s current policy and deals with the major record companies aren’t hurting sales. Apple did what no other music service had done before, got them to successfully sell their music in one online store. That’s what consumers want.
Real’s motivation is far from philanthropic. They just want you to buy music from them. This week Real Networks slashed the prices of songs made available through its Rhapsody online music service from $0.99 to $0.49, for a limited time. Probably until this petition stunt is over.