Economist.com: Free Thinkers

[ Thanks to Tom
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

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