Rob Glaser Steps Down as Real Networks’ CEO

Rob Glaser

Real Networks‘ founder Rob Glaser has stepped down as CEO of the company he founded back in 1994, just days after the departure of the company’s COO John Giamatteo and after a federal judge dismissed Real Networks’ antitrust case against movie studios over its DVD-ripping software RealDVD.

“After nearly 16 years, I’ve decided it’s time for me to step away from day-to-day operations,” Glaser said in a statement. “I’m grateful to all of our stakeholders—customers, partners, shareholders, and most of all, employees—for the support and commitment they’ve given to RealNetworks.”

Glaser’s departure will mark a historic change at Real Networks: Glaser founded the company in 1994 after leaving a position as head of Microsoft’s VP of Multimedia. Rumors had had Glaser preparing to leave the company for some time, but scuttlebutt said the plan had been to recruit or promote a new CEO before Glaser stepped out the door. Now, Glaser has departed the company on seemingly abrupt terms; long-time Real Networks’ executive (and newly-minted board member) Robert Kimball is serving as “acting CEO” for the time being. Glaser will stay on as chairman of Real Networks’ board of directors.

Real Networks has been a long-time player in the online music and video arenas, getting its start with RealAudio (later Real Player) and launching one of the longest-standing online music subscription services in the form of Rhapsody. However, Real Networks also hit some major stumbling blocks: the company famously got into a DRM war with Apple’s iPod over “Harmony,” a product that wrapped audio from Real Networks in Apple’s Fairplay DRM for use on iPods. Real Networks also bet heavily on Microsoft’s music ecosystem and repeatedly characterized Apple’s iPod and iTunes services as flashes in the pan…yet Apple is still going strong and Microsoft’s most successful portable media device—the Zune—also abandoned Microsoft’s Windows Media platform. Real Networks abandoned plans to spin off a casual game company in 2008, and while Rhapsody is still up and running, partners Viacom and MTV aren’t entirely happy with their deal with RealNetworks. Arguably, Real Networks’ most successful business strategy was going after Glaser’s former employer: Real Networks won a massive $761 million antitrust settlement from Microsoft in 2005, after accusing Microsoft of abusing its position in the operating systems market to exclude Real Networks’ software.

Real Networks plans to launch a search for a new permanent CEO; acting CEO Kimball will be a candidate for the job.

Product Review

Glas may be gorgeous, but this spendy thermostat is no smarter than the rest

A stunning OLED screen tops the prettiest thermostat we’ve reviewed in years. But GLAS lacks the brains required to justify its premium price. Read more about it in our full review.

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Product Review

JLab’s new Epic Air Elite pack pulse-pounding bass in reliable wireless buds

They may not sport a new look, but JLab’s Epic Air Elite true wireless earbuds have worked out prior kinks to stay better connected, while holding firm, playing loud, and offering better battery life.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts in the process.

After a month of bugs, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update is finally here

After more thoroughly investigating and resolving all bugs and related issues, Microsoft is announcing the Windows 10 October 2018 is again rolling out to consumers starting today, November 13. 

Changing file associations in Windows 10 is quick and easy with these steps

Learning how to change file associations can make editing certain file types much quicker than manually selecting your preferred application every time you open them. Just follow these short steps and you'll be on your way in no time.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.

Printing to PDF in Windows is easy, no matter which method you use

Microsoft's latest operating system makes it easier than ever to print to PDF in Windows, but there are alternative methods for doing so, even if you want to forgo Adobe Acrobat. Here's how.

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as picking from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.