RealNetworks CEO resigns

Rob Glaser, company founder, will remain chairman

RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser has stepped down as CEO of the online entertainment software company after 16 years.

RealNetworks’ RealPlayer and RealAudio software were once major players during the early days of the dot-com boom but couldn’t compete against the popularity of the MP3 audio format, Microsoft’s Windows Media Player or rivals like Apple and YouTube.

RealNetworks, which also co-owns the Rhapsody music subscription service, has been mired in a legal battle against Hollywood since 2008 over RealDVD, software that the studios say will violate copyright law by enabling consumers to rip DVDs and distribute them digitally.

Glaser will retain his chairman position, while Robert Kimball has been upped from general counsel and exec VP to president and acting CEO.

Kimball joined Real in 1999 and is considered a key candidate for the permanent CEO job. He said the company’s goal is to be “a more focused and profitable company.”

Glaser’s departure comes a day after John Giamatteo said he would resign from RealNetworks as chief operating officer.

A U.S. district judge has placed a preliminary injunction on RealNetworks barring the company from selling RealDVD key to launching a new DVD player that can record and store digital copies until a jury can hear the case.

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