News Brief

RealNetworks Undercuts Apple

RealNetworks announced that it has drastically cut its music download price to 49 cents. Under the terms of its "Freedom of Choice" campaign, users can download any song in the company's RealPlayer Music Store for 49 cents a piece, down from the usual price of 99 cents each. Apple Computer's iTunes service also charges 99 cents for each song. RealNetworks said the price would be offered for "a limited time." The Seattle-based provider of digital media services and software also said it predicts a third-quarter loss to reflect the impact of a new promotion.

Last month, the company announced the launch of its Harmony technology, aimed at allowing consumers to download music to all new music devices, including Apple's iPod. Apple Corp. responded as follows: "We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions," Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said, adding that it would look into whether its rival had violated any laws with Harmony.