August 2, 2006
Real Player Bundles Firefox And Google Software
Forbes reports that RealNetworks, the creators of the (un)popular media player RealPlayer, have signed a two-year agreement with Mozilla to bundle Firefox with its software (RealPlayer, Rhapsody and RealArcade). They've also signed a contract with Google to distribute Google Toolbar and Google Desktop.
Google continues to focus on making distribution deals (see Dell agreement, Adobe deal) as a way of increasing its desktop presence. Google and RealNetworks have a long history: RealPlayer is bundled with Google Toolbar from 2004 and Google Pack includes RealPlayer as an optional download.
RealPlayer has a bad reputation, as it used to bundle spyware software and it has a bloated UI. It was ranked number two on the PC World's Top 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time:
"A frustrating inability to play media files--due in part to constantly changing file formats--was only part of Real's problem. RealPlayer also had a disturbing way of making itself a little too much at home on your PC--installing itself as the default media player, taking liberties with your Windows Registry, popping up annoying "messages" that were really just advertisements, and so on."
Many people have chosen to use Real Alternative to be able to play Real media files. Others install RealPlayer, but play the files with another compatible player.
But for Google, this is just another distribution deal.