Realnetworks boss cleans out his desk

After a couple of years watching his outfit drop down the loo, Realnetworks boss Rob Glaser has called it a day.

For 16 years Glaser has watched the media outfit grow from nothing, to something and back to nothing again and now has decided to clean out his desk.

He will still be around as chairman, but will be replaced by Robert Kimball as president and acting chief executive officer. His exit mirrors that of John Giamatteo, the company’s chief operating officer.

All really is not that well at Real.  Glaser set up the outfit after defecting from the Mighty Microsoft Machine.  In the early days it produced some natty  proprietary software formats, RealAudio and RealVideo. It was the early days of the web and Real was the big name in online video and audio.

But Glaser dropped the ball when the internet video boom took off.  Real was duffed up by MP3, Youtube and Apple. To most people Real was a bit like AOL.  It might have been good in the pioneering days of the world wide wibble but now was as useful as one of those early mobile phones.

Glasser didn’t give up.  But his attempts to get back in the running by releasing  DVD back-up got him a court action from the movie studios, which he lost, and little else. Kimball will have to come up with something new fast if Real is not simply going to fall into yet another post-modern definition of illusion.