RealNetworks, Inc. is a provider of Internet streaming media delivery software and services based in Seattle, Washington, United States. The company is the creator of RealAudio, a compressed audio format; RealVideo, a compressed video format; RealPlayer, a media player; RealDownloader, a download manager; Unifi, a Personal Cloud media service; Rinse, a digital music library cleanup tool; and Helix technology for delivering digital media to PCs, mobile phone, and other devices. The company also manages subscription-based online entertainment services including SuperPass and GameHouse RealNetworks’ software as a service group also provides mobile entertainment and messaging services to mobile carriers. Wikipedia.
News Article | February 26, 2017
When I first started listening to music, it was on vinyl records. Then we used cassette tapes—source of the first mix tapes—and, yes, we would copy each others’ albums without paying any royalties. Next came CDs, followed by digital downloads. And now, of course, we’re all streaming. It seems like a natural progression, in hindsight. But it wasn’t. Each format shift was a battle, and no one knew how it would turn out. What was worth investing in, and what could you wait out? (My in-laws still have an 8-track player. Anyone want it?) But the biggest change in the music business, by far, has been the most recent one. That’s because streaming required a radical alteration in ingrained behavior. In 2008, Fast Company highlighted Real Networks as one of our World’s Most Innovative Companies honorees; its Rhapsody business was an early proponent of music-as-a-service. Today, this sort of model is widespread—not only in music but in many areas, including software—but a decade ago most of us weren’t close to accepting it. We owned the music we loved, thank you very much. We could share it with whomever we wanted, pass it down to the next generation even. It was ours. And along comes an outfit trying to convince us that a monthly fee made more sense? Please. Then we’d be shackled to them. What Rhapsody and its ilk did (most emphatically in the form of Spotify, which first appeared on our Most Innovative Companies list in 2010, before it was available in the United States) is not only turn that logic on its head but reconstitute our emotional relationship with music. Today, there are more than 60 million people who pay for music as a streaming service, and the number continues to climb. We have been enticed by ease of use, and access to an almost limitless supply of tunes. Engineering this habit shift was never a certainty. Which is worth reminding ourselves, because many of today’s most exciting new businesses are predicated on a similar sort of behavioral change. Our evolution to a cashless economy, for instance, faces cultural and emotional hurdles that are at least as difficult as any technological or regulatory ones. The ecosystem in place from Square and Stripe, Venmo and AppleTouch ID, is increasingly robust—who needs cash to buy a Starbucks Frappuccino?—yet we still have paper money and even coins in our pockets. Understanding the human motivations behind a fixed behavior is every bit as important as identifying the potential of new habits. Only by designing an experience that solves both challenges will innovators have a chance of altering our reflexive responses. Think about Airbnb. Its entire business is based on a far-out notion: that we’d prefer to sleep in a stranger’s house than in a predicable hotel-chain room. That word, “predictable,” is both Airbnb’s obstacle and its opportunity. The concept of the modern hotel chain grew in the middle of the last century as a response to dodgy “roadside” inns that until then were the norm for travelers outside the city. Holiday Inn recognized that the prospect of a Bates Motel could be countered by a more dependable, safe, clean alternative. (Plus: You could bring the kids along for free!) The consistency of staying at such a hotel was the appeal—as it remains today, for many business and leisure travelers.
Rassool R.,Real Networks
IEEE International Symposium on Broadband Multimedia Systems and Broadcasting, BMSB | Year: 2017
Measuring video quality with standard metrics ensures that operators can deliver to consumers the desired quality of experience (QoE) at an optimal cost. Such metrics also allow CODEC engineers to optimize the performance of their encoding algorithms. This paper briefly surveys existing video quality metrics and then presents results of the new Video Multi-Method Assessment Fusion (VMAF) metric  proposed by Netflix. The author and colleagues used VMAF to measure the quality of a 4K dataset encoded with the RealMedia video CODEC at a range of bitrates. They also gathered subjective quality assessments from a group of viewers for the same dataset. The paper presents findings of correlation between subjective and objective results. © 2017 IEEE.
Real Networks | Date: 2014-01-09
A main or base game has an associated bingo-type matching bonus game or event. The main or base game may have a winning outcome with an associated base award. Upon the occurrence of certain events, such as matches of symbols used in the main game, one or more bonus indicia, such as bingo balls, are generated. These bonus indicia are compared to a players bonus indicia, such as bingo numbers on a players bingo card, for matching. If one or more designated matches, such as matching patterns, are achieved, the player may be awarded a bonus event award.
News Article | May 5, 2014
Deck of Dice, a startup with a product of the same name, has a clever idea. It puts an entire deck of 54 playing cards (jokers included) on a set of nine six-sided dice. So it’s like combining dice and playing cards in a new kind of game. If it plays its cards right, or maybe gets a lucky dice roll, it could create a brand new entry among the 100-year-old casino games that collectively make up a $391 billion gambling business worldwide. It’s a potentially disruptive idea, and could lead to the creation of multiple games across many different sectors of the gaming and gambling businesses, its creators say. and the idea is so simple that a lot of people are going to say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” “We have the most overdue game invention of all time,” said Tom Donelan, chief executive of Cleveland, Ohio-based Deck of Dice, in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat. “We will use it to create a new casino style gaming venture. We have the opportunity to reinvent the thrill of chance games.” “There was an inventor who had a chocolate meets peanut butter idea,” said Bob Lindsay, chief operating officer of Deck of Dice and a 25-year game industry veteran, in an interview. Deck of Dice is the brainchild of 57-year-old Carmelyn Calvert, an empty-nest grandmother in rural Illinois. She loves games and had a great idea one night to combine two of her favorites. She began cutting some wood dice and figured out the right combinations of the playing cards to put on each die. For instance, she decided that any time you need an Ace of Spades, you don’t also need a Six of Spaces. So she put those on the same die. By doing it just right, she was able to preserve the ability to get all 40 different kinds of straight hands in a game of poker. That is, if you roll the nine dice, you will be able to get every kind of straight or royal flush possible in poker. She assigned the rights to Deck of Dice, and the company has patented the game system. Deck of Dice hopes to cash in on the booming market for both physical and digital casino games. The problem most competitors have is that they all have the same games, like poker, blackjack, slots, roulette, and craps. “Playing cards and dice are the roots of the whole industry,” Donelan said. “Everyone has commodity games.” With Deck of Dice, Donelan wants to create a bunch of new games that will penetrate every sector, including social casino games, mobile games, online gambling, lotteries, slot machines, and table games in physical casinos. Lindsay said the company has global rights to commercialize the patent. Since 2011, Deck of Dice has already sold more than 250,000 physical dice at $10 per package in retail stores across the country, like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Target. And that was with zero promotion. The founders also went to the Gen Con tabletop gaming conference, where they asked attendees to create their own versions of games using the dice. They came up with more than 100 different games. “We know it is more than a barroom gimmick,” Donelan said. Now it plans to raise money to create new digital games. There’s precedent for new games. Slingo was a combination of slots and bingo that saw great success after in was invented in 1995 by businessman Sal Falciglia. Hee created the game during his 60s by thinking about two favorite pastimes: slot machines and bingo. He conceived Slingo in his head and played it over and over again. In 17 years, players spent more than $1 billion on Slingo, and Real Networks bought the company for $15.6 million last year. “They were a good precursor,” Donelan said. “We learned from them that we have to focus on the right opportunities. We will start with mobile, then move to the social web and promotional games. Then we can do online gambling, online lottery, video lottery, slots, and casino tables.” But first things first. The mobile game will be a Yahtzee-like game that combines chance and puzzle solving. The team has created an iPhone prototype game that tests the concept but hasn’t been optimized for monetization. Lindsay said the game’s retention figures are meeting general mobile gaming expectations. “It’s now time to optimize that game,” Donelan said. “We do plan to find huge marketing partners to help. But first things first.” Deck of Dice is seeking a round of funding for its digital business and casino versions. And for games like lotteries, which are highly regulated, Deck of Dice will need some big partners. The company hopes to launch a mobile game by the summer and to start doing promotional deals late in the year. The company has six employees, mostly in Cleveland, but it is establishing its digital game studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. “We feel like we are at the beginning of a fresh new form of entertainment,” Lindsay said. “It can have multiple games, and it is proprietary.”
News Article | December 3, 2014
Steve Jobs made an appearance Monday as a key witness in Apple’s most recent antitrust lawsuit — courtesy of a video deposition taped shortly prior to his death in 2011. The lawsuit concerns a long-running class action antitrust lawsuit dating back to 2005. It is argued by the plaintiffs that Apple gained an unfairly monopolistic position by blocking competitors from putting their music on iPods. Jobs avoided many of the questions he was asked during the 2-hour video deposition, saying that “I don’t remember,” “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall” a total of 74 times — including when he was asked if he was familiar with what the lawsuit was about. A few typically snappy Steve Jobs moments did crop up, however. Responding to a question about the former iTunes rival Real Networks, Jobs replied, “Do they still exist?” In another instance cited, an email sent by Jobs to other Apple executives in July 2004 proposed a line for a possible press release about Real Networks, noting that, “We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod.” In response Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller wrote that, “I like likening them to hackers.” When Jobs was asked in the deposition whether his statements about Real Networks sounded vehement or strong, he answered that they, “don’t sound too angry to me when I read them.” “Usually, a vehement – I don’t know about the word ‘vehement,’ but a strong response from Apple would be a lawsuit,” he continued. The trial will also feature testimony from some of Apple’s current executives, including head of marketing Phil Schiller, and iTunes boss Eddy Cue. The plaintiffs — made up of a group of individuals and businesses who purchased iPods from 2006 to 2009 — are seeking about $350 million in damages from Apple. This amount will automatically be tripled under antitrust laws if Apple is found guilty.
News Article | December 2, 2014
The late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, led the company to violate antitrust laws by restricting music purchases for iPod users to Apple’s iTunes digital store, an attorney for consumers suing Apple said in court. Opening statements began on Tuesday in an Oakland, Calif., federal court in the long-running class action, which harks back to Apple’s pre-iPhone era. The plaintiffs, a group of individuals and businesses who purchased iPods from 2006 to 2009, are seeking about $350 million in damages from Apple for unfairly blocking competing device makers. That amount would be automatically tripled under antitrust laws. Plaintiff attorney Bonny Sweeney showed the court emails from top Apple executives, including Jobs, discussing a challenge in the online music market from Real Networks, which developed a rival digital song manager. When it was developed, music purchased on Real’s store could be played on iPods. “There was a concern by Apple that this would eat into their market share,” Sweeney told the eight-member jury. Apple eventually introduced a software update that barred RealPlayer music from the iPod. Plaintiffs say that step discouraged iPod owners from buying a competing device when it came time to upgrade. Apple attorney William Isaacson said the company had every right to improve iTunes to protect iPods from security threats, as well as from the damage caused by Real Networks software. “It posed a danger to the consumer experience and to the quality of the product,” Isaacson said. The trial evidence includes emails from Jobs, as well as video deposition testimony the former Apple chief executive gave shortly before he died in 2011. In July 2004, Jobs wrote to other Apple executives with a suggested press release about Real Networks. “How’s this?” Jobs wrote. “‘We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod.'” “I like likening them to hackers,” Apple marketing chief Philip Schiller responded. During his 2011 deposition, Jobs displayed some of the edge he was known for, according to a transcript filed in court. Asked if he was familiar with Real Networks, Jobs replied: “Do they still exist?” Jobs said Apple was influenced by concerns about how record companies would react if music could be taken off the iPod and copied onto other computers. He could not recall many of the details of how he viewed the Real Networks threat in 2004. Asked if his statements about Real Networks at the time sounded angry, Jobs replied: “[T]hey don’t sound too angry to me when I read them.” He continued: “Usually, a vehement — I don’t know about the word ‘vehement,’ but a strong response from Apple would be a lawsuit.” Apple argues that it did not possess monopoly power in the digital music player market, and that it has no legal duty to make its products compatible for competitors. Apple software chief Eddy Cue as well as Schiller are both expected to testify. The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is The Apple iPod iTunes Anti-Trust Litigation, 05-37.
News Article | December 5, 2014
Steve Jobs and his actions are a central element in a lawsuit which alleges Apple ‘wiped’ rival songs from iPods Apple stands accused of creating and abusing a monopoly position in the digital music player market in a lawsuit. And the actions of Steve Jobs are being closely examined, as he is alleged to be the mastermind behind Apple’s supposed anti-competitive behaviour. The billion dollar lawsuit is a long-running legal dogfight in California courtrooms, that was launched back in January 2005. The class action lawsuit was filed by a number of individuals and businesses, and the case has finally gone to trial this week in a US district court in Oakland, California. The lawsuit essentially accuses Apple of using restrictive digital rights management (DRM) software that prevented iPods from playing digital music sold by iTunes competitors such as Musicmatch and Real Networks. Indeed, Apple has been accused of “deleting” songs from rival services on some iPods during the past decade. The case centres on Apple’s FairPlay DRM technology, which it used to lock down iPods from playing music from other digital music stores. Apple stopped using that DRM software on music back in 2009, but it is reportedly still used for apps on the iTunes store. And Apple co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs, is playing a central role in the lawsuit. His emails are being closely examined and a videotaped deposition of Steve Jobs about the issue, taken six months before his death in October 2011, will be shown to jurors. It is understood that Apple is defending the use of the DRM software as necessary to protect licenses with major record labels. Jobs was asked during his deposition whether music labels were pressing Apple for “greater interoperability” between the iPod and competing technology. “Apple’s point of view was, you know, we were the only big company involved in this stuff at that time, the one with the deepest pockets,” Jobs was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in the 2011 testimony. Apple had “black-and-white contracts” with record labels that would be violated if consumers could strip licensed songs from iPods and install them on other devices, he said. “So I remember we were very concerned about that,” Jobs added. “And we went to great pains to make sure that people couldn’t hack into our digital rights management system because if they could, we would get nasty e-mails from the labels threatening us to – you know, that they were going to yank the license.” The case concerns iPods that were brought between 2006 to 2009, and the consumers’ lawyers contend the record companies had sought the ability for songs to be played on and from different systems – not just Apple devices. Apple said “no, take a hike,” Patrick Coughlin, a lawyer for the consumers, reportedly told jurors this week. And internal emails between Jobs and other senior Apple executives have been used in a bid to depict the late CEO as the mastermind behind a push to thwart competitors. An email sent by Steve Jobs in 2005 after he discovered that a rival company was about to introduce a program (Harmony) that would let music fans buys songs anywhere and play them on iPods. “We may need to change things here,” the email read. And Jobs also reportedly helped draft a press release that accused RealNetworks of using “the tactics and ethics of a hacker”, regarding Harmony. Meanwhile, in an earlier email from 2003 that was sent to other Apple executives, Steve Jobs expressed concern about Musicmatch, a software company, opening its own music store. “We need to make sure that when Music Match launches their download music store they cannot use iPod,” he wrote. “Is this going to be an issue?” Apple, meanwhile, has argued that there are actually no plaintiffs in the trial. The case was originally launched by Marianna Rosen and Melanie (Tucker) Wilson. However, Apple says that new evidence shows that the two women named as plaintiffs may not have purchased iPod models covered by the lawsuit. How well do you know Apple? Try our quiz!
News Article | October 6, 2014
Roger Davies, a digital & gaming industry veteran, has joined Robosoft as Vice President & General Manager of the Games & Entertainment division and will be based out of London, UK. He has extensive experience across marketing, business development and strategy having worked with leading technology and entertainment companies like BT Global, Shell, Medio Systems, Real Networks, Nazara Technologies. During his tenure in the mobile industry Roger has been engaged in creating and driving deployment of content globally, building relationships with key participants in the digital ecosystem. Robosoft Technologies, a premier mobile solutions provider known for creating over 1400 ground breaking mobile applications for it’s global clients, sees immense potential in the Games & Entertainment category. Rohith Bhat, CEO of Robosoft observes: “according to Smartphone & Tablet Gaming 2013 report by Casual Games Association, already, 378 million consumers worldwide, or 39% of all mobile gamers, spend a monthly average of $2.70 on or in mobile games. By 2016, these figures will amount to 50% and $3.07 respectively.” Mobile gaming is fuelling the growth of the games industry for these reasons: exponential growth of two screens (mobiles & tablets), anytime-anywhere accessibility, free-to-play and freemium models and hardware innovations. By 2016, mobile games are expected to account for 27.8% of all gaming revenues, generating $23.9 billion. “We want to be the premier go-to company in mobile games. Given our capabilities in game design & technology and our track record, we are confident of making a mark in the Games & Entertainment domain. There is a huge potential between movie franchises, game developers and brands for bespoke mobile games”, Roger adds. Robosoft, in association with its subsidiary 99Games and YashRaj Films built the highly successful and award winning mobile game, Dhoom:3 The Game and Dhoom:3 Jet Speed based on the Hindi film, Dhoom 3. 99Games has also created several successful mobile games including Wordsworth and Star Chef on iOS. About Robosoft: Robosoft (www.robosoftin.com) crafts mobile solutions built around the credo Emotion Engineering & Design. Robosoft partners with several prestigious global brands and has built over 1400 apps, across platforms in Consumer Mobility, Enterprise Mobility and Games & Entertainment segments. With several award-winning, globally recognized apps in its portfolio Robosoft’s team of designers & engineers has the depth & scale of experience to build outstanding digital products.
News Article | December 2, 2014
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Apple iTunes DRM trial underway in federal court here will come down to how jurors view certain code that Apple added to iTunes. The plaintiffs, representing a class of about 8 million consumers as well as large retailers, say it was anything but an "upgrade." They're seeking $351 million in damages. Plaintiffs' lawyer Bonny Sweeney kicked off her opening statements describing Apple showing off its new Nano in 2006. "It had twice the storage capacity and came in five different colors," she said. "But what Apple didn't tell its customers is that the code that came with the new Nano also contained the 'Keybag Verification Code.' That code did not make the Nano faster or improve its sound quality… it didn't make it sleeker or cooler. Instead, what that did is prevent customers who had legally purchased songs from a competitor from playing their songs on their iPod." In this lawsuit, the plaintiffs are contending that specific changes Apple made to iTunes 7.0 and 7.4 were anticompetitive. Apple isn't being sued for having DRM, per se, but for making tweaks to its DRM that made some forms of inter-operability, like Real Networks' Harmony, stop working. Both plaintiffs and defense lawyers presented brief histories of the rise of the iPod. Unsurprisingly, they saw a few things differently. Before record labels would sign a deal with Apple to launch its iTunes store, they insisted that the songs sold there have some type of copy-protection, or DRM. Songs sold by Apple were coded to only work on iPods; if consumers wanted to move their music library over to a competing MP3 player, the only solution would be to burn the songs on to CDs, transfer them to a computer, and then move them to the non-Apple music player. The plaintiffs' economics experts say the "lock-in" produced by Apple's DRM reprogramming resulted in a total of $351 million in damages. Sweeney laid out the details on some of that math. The plaintiffs say Apple re-sellers were hit with a 2.38 percent overcharge, while consumers experienced a 7.45 percent overcharge. The reseller-plaintiffs bought about 36 million iPods in the relevant time frame, spending an average of $173.95 per unit. Consumers bought 11.9 million units directly from Apple, spending an average of $219.15. There's also an additional category of around 485,000 sales which resulted from returns and upgrades. The plaintiffs began showing some internal Apple e-mails, a theme they'll surely return to during the trial. Once Real Networks launched Harmony in 2006, Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, and other Apple execs immediately started discussing how to react to it. "Jeff, we may need to change things here," Jobs wrote to Jeff Robbins, suggesting Real's move required a change in the iPod. "I think we need to talk... about doing a simple authentication in 6.0.2 for iPod," Robbins wrote in an instant message to a colleague a few days later. "Nothing with DB, but lock down the keybag." "We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker, and breaking into the iPod," wrote Jobs in an early e-mailed draft of their press release. "I like likening them to hackers," responded Schiller. "Do we want to soften [the part about] how successful they have been?" There wasn't much to soften. Even in August 2004, when Real had a sale selling MP3s for 49 cents each—a significant loss, since they were paying 70 cents for the tracks—Apple's market share only dropped a few percentage points. In his opening, Apple attorney William Isaacson stressed that the iTunes 7.0 and 7.4 updates in question were real product improvements, not a strategic decision to keep out Harmony. "If at the end of the trial, you find iTunes 7.0 and 7.4 were genuine product improvements, you must find Apple did not engage in anticompetitive conduct," said Isaacson. The 7.0 update, pushed to consumers in 2006, was "the most significant update since the initial launch of iTunes," said Isaacson. "It took the music revolution into movies—movies, for the first time, were available on iTunes. Album art was available for the first time." Even as he described how the 7.0 update wasn't all about DRM, Isaacson did acknowledge Apple viewed the Real Networks system as an intruder in their world—a hacker. The company didn't see what Real Networks was doing as very different from other famous hackers trying to break into iTunes, like DVD Jon. "Harmony was software that ran without permission," said Isaacson. "It wanted to insert itself between the iPod and iTunes. It had to build a keybag, music database, and mimic what FairPlay was doing, and trick FairPlay... It posed a danger to the consumer experience and the quality of the product." When iTunes 7.0 and 7.4 were launched, among other changes, the company updated its encryption, he said. Real Networks' reverse-engineering became "outdated" because of those updates. "We changed the encryption because that's what you do with encryption." The opening statements finished up about 11:00am Pacific time. The trial is expected to continue for a few weeks. US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is holding this jury trial in the mornings, handling other criminal and civil cases during afternoons. Testimony got underway this morning, beginning with a former Apple reseller named Kenneth Reigel, who testified for the plaintiffs. During his opening, Isaacson also pointed out that Real Networks wouldn't be testifying at trial. Gonzalez Rogers told the jurors that Real wasn't a party to the case and ordered jurors not to consider why no company representative was testifying.
News Article | December 3, 2014
The late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, led the company to violate antitrust laws by restricting music purchases for iPod users to Apple’s iTunes digital store, an attorney for consumers suing Apple said in court. Opening statements began on Tuesday in an Oakland, California, federal court in the long-running class action, which harks back to Apple’s pre-iPhone era. The plaintiffs, a group of individuals and businesses who purchased iPods from 2006 to 2009, are seeking about $350 million in damages from Apple for unfairly blocking competing device makers. That amount would be automatically tripled under antitrust laws. Plaintiff attorney Bonny Sweeney showed the court emails from top Apple executives, including Jobs, discussing a challenge in the online music market from Real Networks, which developed a rival digital song manager. When it was developed, music purchased on Real’s store could be played on iPods. “There was a concern by Apple that this would eat into their market share,” Sweeney told the eight-member jury. Apple eventually introduced a software update that barred RealPlayer music from the iPod. Plaintiffs say that step discouraged iPod owners from buying a competing device when it came time to upgrade. Apple attorney William Isaacson said the company had every right to improve iTunes to protect iPods from security threats, as well as from the damage caused by Real Networks software. “It posed a danger to the consumer experience and to the quality of the product,” Isaacson said. The trial evidence includes emails from Jobs, as well as video deposition testimony the former Apple chief executive gave shortly before he died in 2011. In July 2004, Jobs wrote to other Apple executives with a suggested press release about Real Networks. “How’s this?” Jobs wrote. “‘We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod.'” “I like likening them to hackers,” Apple marketing chief Philip Schiller responded. During his 2011 deposition, Jobs displayed some of the edge he was known for, according to a transcript filed in court. Asked if he was familiar with Real Networks, Jobs replied: “Do they still exist?” Jobs said Apple was influenced by concerns about how record companies would react if music could be taken off the iPod and copied onto other computers. He could not recall many of the details of how he viewed the Real Networks threat in 2004. Asked if his statements about Real Networks at the time sounded angry, Jobs replied: “[T]hey don’t sound too angry to me when I read them.” He continued: “Usually, a vehement – I don’t know about the word ‘vehement,’ but a strong response from Apple would be a lawsuit.” Apple argues that it did not possess monopoly power in the digital music player market, and that it has no legal duty to make its products compatible for competitors. Apple software chief Eddy Cue as well as Schiller are both expected to testify. The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is The Apple iPod iTunes Anti-Trust Litigation, 05-37.