RealTime IT News

Microsoft To Sell Stake in RealNetworks

The sometimes rocky relationship between Microsoft Corp. and RealNetworks Inc. surfaced again late Wednesday when the software giant announced it would begin selling its minority stake in the streaming media company.

Microsoft said it first notified real in June that it was considering selling the 3.3 million shares it bought in July 1997 for $9 each. The software giant said it felt accelerating the development of its own Windows Media Player, which competes with Real's product, was in its best interest.

"Microsoft and RealNetworks are each developing exciting technologies, but the rapid pace of innovation and our competing visions for streaming media means our investment in RealNetworks no longer makes sense," said Greg Maffei, Microsoft's chief financial officer.

Real estimates Microsoft has made about $100 million on its investment.

The moves comes after relations between the two companies soured over the summer after Real Chairman Rob Glaser accused the software giant of intentionally disabling its products. Glaser maintained the Real's streaming media player no longer worked once Microsoft's own player was installed. Microsoft disputed the claim all along and blamed the problems on a defect in a beta version of the RealPlayer.