RealNetworks G2 Bug Reproduced by RealPlayer 5.0

Last Thursday (7/23/98) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks, made several false and misleading claims regarding how the Windows Media Player allegedly breaks RealNetworks’ players. Mr. Glaser alleged that “Windows Media Player disrupts consumers’ use” of RealNetworks products. This is untrue. After a day of testing his demonstration case and working hard to understand where the issues reside, Microsoft found that a bug in the beta version of RealNetworks’ new G2 software causes the problem demonstrated by Mr. Glaser. Microsoft’s conclusions are supported by independent third parties such as PC Magazine which wrote, “Microsoft is right,” said Larry Seltzer, technical director of ZD Virtual Labs. “It’s completely unjustifiable for RealNetworks to say that Microsoft has changed something that broke the G2 player.”

Further investigation by Microsoft has found that installing the latest commercial version of RealNetworks’ own RealPlayer will trigger the same bug in the RealPlayer G2 beta. On a machine with Netscape Navigator, RealPlayer 5.0 (their latest commercial player) will become the default player for the playback of all RealMedia content because of the G2 player’s failure to correctly register with the Netscape Navigator registry tree.

We expect RealNetworks will claim that RealPlayer 5.0 intentionally takes over RealMedia playback from RealPlayer G2. However this behavior only occurs with Netscape Navigator. For PCs with Internet Explorer, the previously installed RealPlayer G2 beta remains the default player for all RealMedia content. This inconsistency proves that there exists a bug in RealPlayer G2 beta on PCs with Netscape navigator.

We find it unfortunate that Mr. Glaser claimed that the Windows Media Player broke the G2 Player software and instead demonstrated a bug in his own software at the Senate hearings. An identical demonstration using RealNetworks’ commercially available RealPlayer

5.0 on a PC with Netscape Navigator would have yielded identical results. We invite all consumers to test how RealPlayer 5.0 triggers the bug in the RealNetworks RealPlayer G2 beta.

Reproduce the G2 Bug Yourself With RealPlayer 5.0

To demonstrate how RealPlayer 5.0 triggers the bug in RealPlayer G2 beta, Microsoft has downloaded from RealNetworks Web site the copy posted Thursday, July 23 rd . Microsoft then simply replaced every reference to the Windows Media Player with RealPlayer 5.0 (minor edits were made to text to account for substitutions). Following these steps will show how the breaking of the RealSystem G2 player can be reproduced by installing the RealPlayer 5.0 on a machine with RealPlayer G2 Beta and Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above.

Please see for more information about the RealPlayer G2 bug.

Copy of the Directions placed on the RealNetworks Web Site

Pre-Demo Requirements

In order to make sure that the demo runs properly, please do the following:

  • Use a Windows 95 or 98 system.

  • Use Netscape Communicator 4.x

  • Uninstall any RealPlayer you have installed on your system using the “Add/Remove Programs” option in the Windows Control Panel.

  • If you have the RealPlayer 5.0 already on your system, uninstall it using the “Add/Remove Programs” option in the Windows Control Panel.

How to Reproduce The Problems

The cases below will guide you through four major steps: a) installing of the RealPlayer G2 b) playing sample RealAudio and RealVideo content and c) installing the RealPlayer d) attempting to play the same RealAudio and RealVideo content.

RealPlayer 5.0 Disabling RealPlayer and RealPlayer Plus G2 Beta 1 When Playing Real G2 Content or 5.0 Content (in Netscape only)

  1. Using Netscape, download the free RealPlayer G2 Beta1 from the Web site

  2. Close Netscape and install the RealPlayer G2 by running the file “r32_g2b1_1.exe” that you downloaded. At the end of the install process, the RealPlayer G2 will launch.

  3. Once the RealPlayerG2 is launched, disable the SmartStart feature (icon that is in your Windows tool tray) of the RealPlayer.

  4. Close the RealPlayer.

  5. Netscape Navigator 4.x should already be open.

  6. Go to a web site with RealSystem G2 content or RealSystem 5.0 content:

  • — . On the main page, in the center of the page, select the “Play Show” option.

  1. Play that Real G2 or 5.0 content by selecting the appropriate RealAudio or RealVideo links. Note that the RealPlayer is automatically opened when RealSystem content is played.

  2. Close the RealPlayer G2 Beta.

  3. Download the free RealPlayer 5.0 from

  4. Close Netscape Navigator.

  5. Install the RealPlayer 5.0. from your desktop.

  6. The RealPlayer 5.0 will open Netscape Navigator 4.x. Close and re-open Netscape.

  7. Return to the same Web site with the Real G2 content.

  8. Play G2 content by selecting the RealAudio & RealVideo G2 links. Note that the RealSystem 5.0 player is launched instead of the RealPlayer G2 despite the fact that only the G2 player can play G2 content.

  9. The RealPlayer 5.0 will not be able to playback the Real G2 content. No error message pops up. Instead, an audio file is played instructing the user that the content they just tried to play is G2-only content.

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