Microsoft Letter Urges RealNetworks to Focus on Customers

Microsoft Letter Urges RealNetworks to Focus on Customers

Microsoft sent a letter today to RealNetworks Chairman and CEO Rob Glaser, urging him to join Microsoft in returning to the mission that both companies share: “providing great technology for consumers.” The letter signed by Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s director of Windows marketing, summarized the results of tests by independent laboratories and Microsoft engineers, which show that alleged incompatibility problems between the two companies’ software are really caused by a bug in the beta version of RealNetworks own G2 media player.

Last week, Glaser testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Microsoft had intentionally designed its Windows Media Player software to cause his product to break. He did a demonstration that was intended to prove that claim. In reproducing Glaser’s demonstration, however, engineers at Microsoft as well as independent laboratories discovered that the real problem was a bug in RealNetworks’ beta G2 software. The engineers encountered exactly the same bug when they tested G2 using RealNetworks’ RealPlayer 5.0, instead of the Microsoft software.

In his letter today, Mehdi reminded Glaser that Microsoft engineers had developed an effective work-around to allow the companies’ mutual customers to avoid the problem. Instructions for the work-around were sent to RealNetworks on Friday afternoon and posted on a Microsoft web site.

“As two responsible companies, we can surely agree that it’s important to resolve our issues in the marketplace to the benefit of consumers rather than through government forums and press conferences,” Mehdi wrote. “The purpose of this letter is not . . . to perpetuate bickering between competitors. Rather it is to reemphasize our focus where I’m sure you would agree it should be – on our customers.”

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