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September 28, 1998

REALNETWORKS GRANTS AOL FREE LICENSE TO REALPLAYER

By CBR Staff Writer

RealNetworks Inc and America Online Inc have announced a relationship whereby RealNetworks’ RealPlayer will be included in version 4.0 of the AOL software, the CD-ROM blitz for which started yesterday. Up until now AOL has been using its own audio and video streaming technology, but now will include RealPlayer 5.0 as an additional option. RealNetworks also announced yesterday the availability of the second beta of the next generation product, RealSystem G2. That too will be included with the AOL software when it finally goes gold next quarter. The deal, for which RealNetworks will receive no licensing fee, gives it a big platform from which to battle Microsoft Corp’s rival streaming technology, Media Player. RealNetworks has accused Redmond of deliberately disabling its streaming products (07/24/98), a charge Microsoft denies, instead alleging a bug in the RealNetworks technology (07/27/98). RealNetworks founder and chief executive Rob Glaser, is eager to stress that G2 is the first version to include the Intel Corp Streaming Web Video software, the deal for which was announced earlier this month (09/17/98). On the encoding side, the technology requires the use of a Pentium II processor to take advantage of the Intel technology, but he says the client player can use any Pentium-class processor, not just Intel’s. The Intel technology enables encoding up to four times faster than pre vious version of RealPlayer and enables encoding at various frame rates to make the user experience smoother at times of network congestion, according to the company. AOL says it will be distributing CD-ROMs to users at the rate of one million a week and will also distribute them through other mass-marketing efforts, such as sticking them on the front of magazines, just like the old days.

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