RealNetworks widens partnership with Intel

Player to be featured on desktops, give MediaPlayer competish

RealNetworks has expanded a partnership with Intel, providing the Internet video and audio software giant with prime distribution on all future computers powered by Intel’s Pentium chips.

Under terms of the pact, the RealOne player, which combines Real’s popular RealPlayer and RealJukebox software together with the company’s subscription-based GoldPass offering, will be incorporated into Intel’s newest PC desktop motherboards, which contain a PC’s basic circuitry and microprocessor, such as Intel’s Pentium 4 chip.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Buyers of PCs that contain Intel’s latest motherboards will have the RealOne Player featured on their desktop the first time they turn on their new computer — a move expected to boost its competitive position against Microsoft’s own Windows MediaPlayer, which automatically comes bundled with the Windows operating system.

Deal is also expected to help beef up RealNetworks’ relationship with Hollywood, as execs meet with studio, television and record label toppers to try to attract exclusive content to its online entertainment service. RealOne already features live and pre-recorded programming from ABCNews, the National Basketball Assn., NASCAR, CNN, the Weather Channel, Major League Baseball, E! and FoxSports, among others.

Meanwhile, Intel will use the deal to promote the multimedia capabilities of its latest chips.

News sent shares of Seattle-based RealNetworks up 23% Monday to close at $6.89.

Deal was announced a day before RealNetworks is expected to unveil the final version of its RealOne software in a much-hyped day of demonstrations in Los Angeles. Test versions of RealOne have been available to Netizens for months.

Intel is already supporting RealNetworks’ technology in its chips for mobile products like cell phones and handheld computers.

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