Founder Exits, Real Restructures

For the third time this year, RealNetworks has
reshuffled its management deck.

The latest restructuring sees the departure of Sean Ryan, vice president of music
services, who joined RealNetworks as part of the $36 million acquisition.

RealNetworks said Ryan is leaving to pursue other business

The digital media delivery firm announced plans to integrate its
RealPlayer and Music Services businesses into a single unit under the
direction of Robert Acker, the former XM Satellite Radio executive who
joined the company in July this year.

RealNetworks said the merging of the two units would put all its
subscription and digital download offerings — the flagship RealPlayer,
the RealPlayer Music Store, RadioPass and the subscription-based
Rhapsody music service — in one place.

The restructuring comes on the heels of Real’s recent moves to
trigger an old-fashioned
price war in the music download business and a public
with rival Apple over access to the iPod device.

The recent 49 cents a song gambit was hailed as “the most successful
music promotion in the company’s history” with RealNetworks selling
more than 3 million songs over a three-week period.

RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser said the restructuring was part of a long
term plan to include the new Harmony Technology in a new version of
Rhapsody, which came with the purchase.

Harmony is a DRM translation technology that lets users shift
their purchased music from one media device to another, across different
codecs, DRM systems and platforms. In addition to all four generations
of Apple’s iPod, Harmony works with digital media players from Creative,
iRiver, RCA, Rio, Samsung and palmOne.

Real also announced that former executive Niranjan Nagar
will take over as General Manager of Music Services.

In April, RealNetworks announced the departure
president Lawrence Jacobson, who ran the company’s international operations. He
was replaced by Dan Sheeran, the company’s vice president of marketing. The shake-up also included
promotions for Edmund Mesrobian, who is now COO, and Karim Meghji, who is now vice president
of the video services division.

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