Real Networks announced on Wednesday that it had bought rights to serve Apple's Quicktime technology, thereby reaching out to to more than 50 million copies of the Quicktime Player installed on Macintosh and Windows systems around the world.
According to the agreement, Real Networks -- maker of Real Player -- will support streaming of Quicktime content across the Internet. Real Networks says the arrangement should be up and running in the second half of 2000.
The unification of the format will benefit to consumers and website owners who want to broadcast audio and video in both Real Player and Quicktime formats, as they will no longer have to do so from two separate computers.
"Streaming media on the internet is just starting out and we see a huge opportunity in this business," said Rob Glaser, chairman of Seattle-based Real Networks, said.
"Our customers want as few duplications of infrastructure as possible and this will really help them reduce costs," he added.
Apple expects the deal to boost the number of broadcasters willing to use Quicktime and hence deal a blow to rival software that supports only a single format such as Microsoft's Windows Media Player.
"It gives content providers more choice in the servers they use to stream their product," said Paul Schiller, marketing vice-president at Apple.
The deal also comes as a response to Microsoft's bundling of Real Player with its software packages that has been threatening to undermine Real Networks' revenue base -- Albawaba.com
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