RealNetworks' founder to step down

Rob Glaser will continue on as chairman and Bob Kimball will temporarily head the company

RealNetworks' founder, Rob Glaser, is stepping down from his role as CEO, the company announced on Wednesday.

It said little about why he's leaving his post. "After nearly 16 years, I've decided it's time for me to step away from day-to-day operations," said Glaser in a statement. He will remain chairman of the board.

Bob Kimball, formerly general counsel and executive vice president of corporate development at Real, will take over as president and CEO. He'll also take on a board seat. Kimball has been with Real since 1999.

In the statement, Real said that Kimball will be considered for the permanent CEO position. It said a formal search process for the position hasn't yet begun but will soon.

Real once provided the industry leading streaming media player, until Microsoft entered the market. The outspoken Glaser famously butted heads with Microsoft, testifying during a U.S. Senate hearing investigating the software giant's business practices. Glaser argued that Microsoft's media player purposely disabled the RealPlayer software when both products were installed on the same computer.

Real also sued Microsoft for anti-competitive behavior following Microsoft's settlement of the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust case.

Before starting RealNetworks, Glaser worked for Microsoft for 10 years.

Real has steadily lost market share to the Windows Media Player as well as iTunes over the years. But it now has other offerings as well, including the popular Rhapsody digital music subscription service.

In the future, the company hopes to transform into "a more focused and more profitable company," Kimball said in the statement.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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