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What do you folks think about RealNetworks (RNWK), makers of Real Player, as a Tweener. The company certainly broke all rules by bringing audio to the web in a huge way. They have approx. 80% of the streaming media market share. The stock was a veritable shooting star for a while. Here's a link to the chart: http://quote.fool.com/chart/chart.asp?symbols=RNWK&currticker=RNWK.

The stock has taken a sound beating in recent weeks. Microsoft is ramping up the distribution and marketing of its Windows Media Player (WMP or WiMP, as it's becoming known). It's really not clear who's going to win out in this pitched battle. RNWK is tiny by comparison to the gorilla and could just get swept up and gulped down in one bite.

Maybe we could coax some of the zealous RNWK shareholders over from the RNWK board to discuss this here. I was all set to buy RNWK several weeks ago and even put in a limit order. But I canceled it because I just can't get a grip on my gut feeling about this company for the long term.

Trevar
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As we have discussed on the RNWK board a few times the true value of RealNetworks is the Many benefits they bring to media producers. RealNetworks has deals with a great many other companies. This has been dubbed the RealNetworks value chain. In the streaming media market he who has the producers has the users. Windows production software works on one system windows. RealNetworks software is compatible with all most every OS.

Watch the numbers not Bill Gates smoke and mirror tricks. The streaming market itself is exploding even if Microsoft can steal some market share RNWK is still going to make big money. Microsoft isn't going to steal 85% market share over night. Right now I don't think microsoft can steal away much market share because they don't have the network (yes it is called RealNetworks for a reason) to support it. Windows streaming software was based on Licensed old RNWK code on earlier versions of the RealPlayer.

RealNetworks is less than years old it doesn't have a death rattle it has a baby rattle.

some fun background

Rob Glaser(CEO of RealNetworks) used to work over at microsoft. I am confident that he will fight tooth and nail. He has so far.

Come the RNWK board and listen in if you like many good people over there. Im sure there is something I am leaving out that they would say.

Pwei
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RNWK a Tweener? Not even close IMHO.

I would look at it as a candidate for Rule Breaker.

Elan
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elann wrote:
RNWK a Tweener? Not even close IMHO.
I would look at it as a candidate for Rule Breaker.


I agree, although David Gardner doesn't agree. They are solidly a Rule Breaker (search in the RB Port board for RNWK and you'll find the dissertation). They have a huge lead which is quite sustainable in the near future. They are the only company of the three majors (MSFT, RNWK and AAPL) who are focused solely on streaming and digital distribution of audio and video. They have a bevy of partnerships and a strong value chain. They've created an entirely new market segment that is revolutionizing old world media and creating avenues for new world media.

But alas, despite the sustained market share, I don't think that RNWK can be considered a Tweener yet. There is far too much change in this segment of the market to identify a clear winner. In a colloquial sense, they can make the rules, but when the rules can change so fast, such a label could certainly be temporal...

FoolJ
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fooljay:

I agree, although David Gardner doesn't agree. They are solidly a Rule Breaker (search in the RB Port board for RNWK and you'll find the dissertation). They have a huge lead which is quite sustainable in the near future. They are the only company of the three majors (MSFT, RNWK and AAPL) who are focused solely on streaming and digital distribution of audio and video. They have a bevy of partnerships and a strong value chain. They've created an entirely new market segment that is revolutionizing old world media and creating avenues for new world media.

I'd have to disagree. They do have solid competition, regardless of whether or not those other companies solely focus on streaming media.

Personally, I prefer and use Windows Media Player and Streaming Quicktime especially whenever possible.

If anything, they would be a Tweener, if indeed they were a true Rule Breaker to begin with. They did not have a sustainable advantage in my opinion.

Scott
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