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October 23, 2000
RealNetworks and Sony Announce Digital Music Technology Alliance
Sony Selects RealPlayer and RealJukebox to be Included with Portable Digital Music Devices and Sony VAIO PCs
RealNetworks Includes Sony's ATRAC3 Audio Compression Technology in RealSystem 8
Seattle and Tokyo, October 23, 2000 -RealNetworks®, Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK) and Sony Corporation today announced a strategic alliance under which the two companies will adopt each other's technology and work together broadly to co-promote and co-market their products. Through this agreement, Sony will include both the RealPlayer® and RealJukebox® with Sony's portable music devices and VAIO PCs beginning in 2001, and RealNetworks will include ATRAC3 technology, Sony's high quality audio compression technology, in RealSystem®8. RealJukebox and RealPlayer are the first partner jukebox and streaming media player to be bundled with these Sony product lines.
Under the agreement, Sony will distribute customized versions of RealNetworks' industry-leading media products, RealPlayer 8 and RealJukebox 2, with multiple Sony products. In addition, VAIO customers will receive RealPlayer, the most popular streaming media player that offers users access to more than 85% of the streaming audio/video content on the Internet. With RealJukebox, Sony VAIO customers can easily build and manage personal music collections by recording their personal CD collections using ATRAC3 technology, accessing the broadest choice of downloadable music on the Internet, and organizing their music. RealJukebox will also be distributed with Sony portable digital music devices using ATRAC3 technology, providing seamless integration and management of digital music with Sony devices.
RealNetworks is licensing two of Sony's latest digital music technologies: ATRAC3, Sony's highest quality compressed digital music format; and OpenMG, Sony's copyright protection technology. ATRAC3 is recognized as a best-in-class, next generation, CD-quality audio compression format as measured by audio playback quality and encoding performance. With the addition of RealNetworks, Sony's ATRAC3 now has broad industry support from 21 licensees including Sharp Corporation OpenMG provides for secure distribution of music from content provider to PCs and portable music devices. RealNetworks will add support for Sony's OpenMG in the future.
"We are thrilled that Sony has selected RealJukebox as the primary music software product for multiple Sony products, and excited to include Sony's ATRAC3 in RealSystem 8 for high quality recording and playback," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO, RealNetworks, Inc. "By teaming with one of the world's leading consumer electronics and technology companies RealNetworks will continue providing the best and latest secure digital music solutions for consumers worldwide."
"We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with RealNetworks, the leader in media delivery on the Internet, to provide Sony customers with the industry-leading RealJukebox and RealPlayer," said Keiji Kimura, President, Information Technology Company of Sony's Personal IT Network Company. "With today's announcement, ATRAC3 will be available to more than 45 million unique registered users of RealJukebox, providing broad compatibility with Sony's innovative portable digital music devices and MagicGate Memory Stick products."
"We believe the alliance between Sony and RealNetworks will do much to advance the digital music marketplace, as it gives consumers a fluid process for enjoying and moving music from their PCs to next-generation digital devices," said Dick Anderson, general manager, IBM Global Media and Entertainment Industry. "The alliance also advances existing collaborations we have with both companies in supporting music protected with IBM's electronic Media Management System."
"The combination of ATRAC3, a superior quality digital music format, OpenMG, a secure digital rights management technology, and RealJukebox, the most popular jukebox software, will make it easier for consumers to obtain a wide range of music and video online," said Al Smith, Senior Vice President, Sony Music Entertainment Inc. "The integration of RealNetworks and Sony's technologies addresses our main concerns of copyright protection and high fidelity sound."
RealNetworks, Inc., based in Seattle, is the recognized leader in media delivery on the Internet. It develops and markets software products and services designed to enable users of personal computers and other consumer electronic devices to send and receive audio, video and other multimedia services using the Web. Consumers can access and experience audio/video programming and download RealNetworks consumer software on the Internet at http://www.real.com. RealNetworks' systems and corporate information is located on the Internet at http://www.realnetworks.com.
About Sony Corporation
Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be a leading broadband entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of more than $63 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2000.