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Economist.com: Free Thinkers

Nov 02, 2002, 04:00 (11 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Tom Mathews for this link. ]

"Focus on what you do best. This age-old strategy has worked well for RealNetworks, Microsoft's main competitor in multimedia software for the Internet. Now, the smaller Seattle-based firm is trying a novel way to contain the software giant. On October 29th, it released the underlying recipe, or source-code, of its RealPlayer software and will soon do the same for its other programs--giving away a big chunk of its intellectual property.

"This may sound like a desperate echo of 1998, when Netscape, struggling in Microsoft's chokehold, published the source-code of its web browser (an initiative that yielded few real results until this June, when the first serious new version of the open-source browser, Mozilla, was released). Yet RealNetworks is not playing defence. It is trying to encourage the creation of a common multimedia software infrastructure for every kind of file format and device, thus thwarting Microsoft's ambitions in this promising market..."

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