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 RealNetworks, Inc. is a provider of Internet streaming media delivery software and services based in Seattle, Washington, United States. The company is the creator of RealAudio, a compressed audio format; RealVideo, a compressed video format; RealPlayer, a media player; RealDownloader, a download manager; Unifi, a Personal Cloud media service; Rinse, a digital music library cleanup tool; and Helix technology for delivering digital media to PCs, mobile phone, and other devices. The company also manages subscription-based online entertainment services including SuperPass and GameHouse RealNetworks’ software as a service group also provides mobile entertainment and messaging services to mobile carriers.


 RealNetworks (then known as Progressive Networks) was founded by an ex-Microsoft executive, Rob Glaser and a management team including Phil Barrett, Andy Sharpless, and Steve Buerkle, in 1994. The original goal of the company was to provide a distribution channel for politically progressive content. It evolved into a technology venture to leverage the Internet as an alternative distribution medium for audio broadcasts. Progressive Networks became RealNetworks in September 1997.

 RealNetworks are pioneers in the streaming media markets and broadcast one of the earlier audio events over the Internet - a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners - on September 5, 1995. They announced streaming video technology in 1997. According to some accounts,[which?] by 2000, more than 85% of streaming content on the Internet was in the Real format.

 Despite this success, problems arose because Real's primary business model depended upon the sale of streaming media server software, and Microsoft and Apple were giving those products away. As servers from Microsoft and Apple became more capable, Real's server sales inevitably eroded.


On January 20, 2000, RealNetworks, Inc. filed an injunction against Streambox, Inc. regarding the aforementioned company's product designed to convert Real Audio (.rm) formatted files to other formats.[7] On December 4, 2001, the company was to launch the first coordinated effort to sell and deliver music from major record labels over the Internet, part of a broader initiative by the company to develop subscription Internet services aimed at Web users with fast Internet connections.[8] In 2002, a strategic alliance was formed between RealNetworks and Sony Corporation to expand collaboration.[9] In October, 2005, Microsoft agreed to pay RealNetworks $460 million to settle an antitrust lawsuit.


In August 2003, RealNetworks acquired's Rhapsody music service, and renamed it RealRhapsody. It offered streaming music downloads for a monthly fee. In January 2004, RealNetworks announced the RealPlayer Music Store, featuring digital rights management (DRM) restricted music in the AAC file format. After some initial tries to push their own DRM scheme (named Helix DRM) onto all device manufacturers with the Creative Zen Xtra and the Sansa e200r as the only existing compliant devices, they sparked controversy by introducing a technology called Harmony that allowed their music to play on iPods as well as Microsoft Windows Media Audio DRM-equipped devices using a "wrapper" that would convert Helix DRM into the two other target DRM schemes.[citation needed]

 The domain attracted at least 67 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a study.

 On April 6, 2010, Rhapsody was spun off from RealNetworks.

 In July 2013, RealNetworks acquired Slingo for $15.6 million.