Why Real Player Is Really, Really Unpleasant

Interesting post, and subsequent discussion, at Tomas Jogin’s blog, on the Real Player — which does streaming audio and video, and was once the bee’s knees.

Now it ain’t so, mainly because of its very invasive way of installing itself on your computer, and then being very, very hard to get rid of. I’ve hated the way it throws little messages at you and installs a little reminder program called, of all things, TkBell.exe, in your start-up queue, if you ever make the mistake of launching it.

But what’s most interesting are the responses from some anonymous folk inside the company. As an outsider you tend to think a software company wants to win over users, not upset them, but while that’s true, not everyone in the company may agree on how to do that. So you end up with developers trying to create great products, marketing folk trying to grab eyeballs — or hits, or subscriptions, or whatever — and the management, who want to get their IPO and mansions. The result: A once great program, trampled by people who have no idea how they’re alienating folk to not only their product, but the Internet, software, music, and anything with the word ‘Real’ before it (with the possible exception of Madrid.)

That’s a good lesson for all of us. I guess a lot of us seem to see corporations as either cool or evil. I have renewed respect for those cool people doing their best in organisations dominated by greedy idiots who probably never have, themselves, had to install the products they sell.