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CEO of RealNetworks departs after eight months of service

updated 09:30 pm EDT, Tue July 3, 2012

Parting amicable, founder Ron Glaser appointed interim CEO

RealNetworks has amicably parted ways with CEO Thomas Nielsen after less than a yearless than a year of service in the position. Both Nielsen and the board of directors agreed that the position wasn't the right fit for the executive. Rob Glaser has been appointed interim CEO of the streaming media company, effective immediately.

Glaser, believed that Nielsen was a good fit for the company during Nielsen's appointment in November of 2011. Glaser said he had "a lot of adjacency and commonality in the understanding of technological trends, market dynamics, that Thomas brings to the party."

The RealNetworks board has begun a search for the next CEO. Glaser said that he is not a candidate for the permanent CEO position.

Under Nielsen's tenure, RealNetworks sold a large video playback patent portfolio to Intel for $120 million, including its premier codec, RealPlayer. In addition, a $2 million fund was established on May 24 for compensation of subscribers who were overcharged between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009. RealNetworks' earnings from media sales remained static.

by MacNN Staff



  1. The Vicar

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They were still in business? Really? Huh.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Remind you of anyone?

    There's this tech company whose boss (& founder) is unable to run the show properly. They put in a new guy, but it doesn't work out. The former boss (& founder) takes over again, but just as interim CEO (you may shorten that to iCEO, if you like), just until a new CEO is found. Of course he says that he is "not a candidate for the permanent CEO position."

    It seems there is nothing that other companies can NOT copy from Steve Jobs and Apple.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I never claimed that Steve himself said that the "i" in "iCEO" stood for "interim". You can watch Steve Jobs dropping the "interim" part and shortening the whole thing to "iCEO" himself at MacWorld SF 2000:

    As for him saying that he wasn't in the running for the permanent CEO, I vividly recall him leading Apple's search for a new CEO in 1997, while stating that his own tenure was really just temporary. You can find this tidbit buried within a Business Week article from November 1997:

    "The early word before the Nov. 5 board meeting was that Jobs had contacted directors by phone to say he would not step in permanently."

    There's another Business Week interview from March 1998 where he kind of skirts around the issue:

    Q: Are you going to take the CEO job permanently?
    A: There's nothing new to report. I just decided one day that for me, it just wasn't such a big deal. I didn't have to lose sleep over this, worry about this. I'm Apple's interim CEO, and it won't be forever, and I'm doing the best that I can. But I'm the full-time CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, and I love it, and I also have a family. I'm doing the best I can here. If folks think there's a better solution, I'll be glad to step aside. And eventually we'll find somebody else to take the reins.

    It's an interesting piece all by itself, very much worth reading:

  1. The Vicar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ah, I see...

    While looking for something totally unrelated, I discovered that Real Networks is indeed still going, and still behaving incredibly obnoxiously to anyone foolish enough to try to install their software:

    (Summary: Real has a download manager, and despite their claims that (a) they respect users' privacy in general and (b) their software doesn't "phone home", a researcher discovered that their software was in fact phoning home, and that they were sending data from a previous commercial transaction over a potentially insecure channel. Sounds like the Real I know, all right.)

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