Apple Disabling RealNetworks Harmony Technology

A CNET news.com story claims that iPods will no longer be able to play tunes purchased from the RealRhapsody online music store operated by RealNetworks, which relies on technology named Harmony to allow their digital-rights-managed music to play on iPods. There was no doubt that Apple wanted to disable or defeat this technology, given Apple's statement in July that RealNetworks was using the "tactics and ethics of a hacker".

Apple Computer has quietly updated its iPod software so that songs purchased from RealNetworks' online music store will no longer play on some of the Mac maker's popular MP3 players.The move could render tunes purchased by many iPod owners unplayable on their music players. For the last four months, RealNetworks has marketed its music store as the only Apple rival compatible with the iPod, following the company's discovery of a way to let its customers play their downloaded tunes on Apple's MP3 player.

It is not clear which iPod software updates contain or will contain this change, which has not been mentioned in any of Apple's software update notes. The last iPod software update was November 18, but did not apply to all iPod models, so some iPods, particularly the iPod mini and iPod photo, may already be unable to play RealRhapsody-purchased music.

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