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CES Real Networks and IBM have decided to combine parts of their software lines to make it easier for customers to deliver digital content to a variety of devices.

The deal between the two companies will see Real ship its RealPlayer/Audio/Video products, Helix DRM (digital rights management) and Helix Universal Server with IBM's middleware stack. The products from IBM include WebSphere Media Enabler, WebSphere Commerce and DB2 Content Manager. By creating a unfied package with all of these products the two companies claim customers will have an easier time rolling out content delivery services of their own.

"We are pleased to announce this relationship with IBM today," said Rob Glaser, CEO, RealNetworks, Inc. "Together we will enable our global customers to quickly offer secure and high-quality media services to their consumers whenever they want it and wherever they want it -- at their TV, their PC, in their car, or with their phone."

Real has been buzzing this week with the release of its Real 10 line of products. Real has more than 1.3 million subscribers to its various services, including the RealPlayer Music Store.

Real and IBM will likely include their software as part of a larger package that includes servers and storage. In total, they would be able to manage every aspect of content delivery from creation to billing. The companies plan to start selling the combined products sometime during the first half of this year.

This is obviously a major win for Real, which faces ever increasing pressure from longtime rival Microsoft. ®

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