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Real anti-Apple poll swamped by pro-Apple posters

So message board gets pulled

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Real Networks last night yanked an online petition demanding Apple open up its FairPlay DRM technology after Macatistas swamped the web site with anti-Real messages.

The petition soon returned, however - minus the opportunity for users to post comments.

Real also removed the ability for readers to comment on other freedomofmusicchoice.org items, after they too yielded a tide of pro-Apple missives.

The petition calls for Apple to "support the right of your own customers to make their own choices about where they buy music for the iPod".

"Don't lock us in to purchasing digital music from one source," the petitioners demand. "That's bad for competition. It will stifle innovation. And it will slow the adoption of digital music devices like the iPod."

Well, as Apple's iPod sales have demonstrated, the Mac maker's current policy won't hinder sales. But it does hinder the opportunities open to the likes of Real and Napster to sell music, which it why we've always argued that Real's motivation is far from philanthropic.

Real yesterday launched freedomofmusicchoice.org in a bid to present itself as a pro-consumer choice company. It also slashed the prices of songs made available through its Rhapsody online music service from 99c to 49c, for a limited time.

Apple and Real are facing off to each other over the former's unwillingness to license FairPlay to the latter. In turn, Real began offering Harmony, a technology that swaps its own Helix DRM rules for their FairPlay equivalents. Apple claims Harmony violates its intellectual property and is considering legal action. ®

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