RealNetworks, Sony get tighter over digital media

RealNetworks and Sony have extended their partnership in the area of digital audio and video, announcing a revised agreement Tuesday that should help both companies widen the reach of their respective digital media technologies.

As part of the deal, the companies will carry out joint research and development to ensure that products from Real, such as its RealOne software, work well with new and existing consumer gadgets from Sony. For its part, Real will continue to incorporate Sony media technologies such as its ATRAC3 (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding) audio compression system with future Real software.

Signalling a deeper commitment to the Seattle, Washington, company, Sony also agreed to purchase a minority stake of 1 percent in RealNetworks, the companies said in a statement. Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sony and RealNetworks have been partners on digital media since early 2000 when they announced a similar agreement to use each other's products and technologies. In May of last year Sony's Sony Computer Entertainment division said it would embed RealPlayer in the PlayStation 2, allowing users to view content downloaded from the Internet on its gaming console.

Today's agreement is significant because it calls for a "far deeper commitment" to the joint development efforts, according to Brian Turner, chief financial officer at RealNetworks. In addition, the agreement extends the partnership to include a wider range of Sony products, including networked consumer devices that have yet to be announced by the Tokyo-based company, he said.

The original agreement "was primarily aimed at the PC platform," Turner said. "Now it's all of these devices as well."

Aside from the PlayStation 2, Sony makes a vast array of digital products, including its Vaio line of desktop and notebook PCs, MP3 music players, digital still and video cameras and the Clie PDA (personal digital assistant), which is based on PalmSource Inc.'s Palm operating system.

Tuesday's agreement lays out a framework for "regular product and business reviews" of the companies' joint efforts, the statement said. Real will continue to integrate Sony's ATRAC3 technology with its products and will give "consideration" to using Sony's OpenMG copy protection technology in its distribution products. Sony will continue to use RealNetworks' content distribution software in music players and other products.

The deal is nonexclusive, meaning Sony is also free to work with RealNetworks rivals such as Microsoft Corp., Turner said.

"Sony is free to work with Microsoft, but Sony is a natural ally for RealNetworks," he said.

Sony acquired its stake in RealNetworks from a third-party shareholder, not from RealNetworks itself, and it does not provide Sony with a seat on the RealNetworks board of directors, Turner said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?