While RealNetworks has been pushing hard for anti-trust judgments against Microsoft (and were a good part of the reason for the EU's judgment against them) some are pointing out that RealNetworks have done a lot more damage to themselves. There are many people out there who actively look for alternatives to Microsoft's products. However, instead of building on any sort of "anti-Microsoft" sentiment, RealNetworks has angered users all over the place by making the free version of their product hard to find and install. Their website tries (repeatedly) to make you buy the paid-for version of the software, and even when you think you're clicking through to the free version, they keep it pretty hidden. Then, once you've downloaded the free version, the registration process is incredibly annoying, sneaking in the installation of all sorts of things people didn't want. On top of that, it throws up pop-up ads, installs unnecessary programs into your startup file and is just generally annoying. This has gotten so bad that many content providers who have offered Real audio or video streams are changing their mind after users have complained about the process. RealNetworks now claims that they've heard all the complaints and are changing to make their product less annoying. In fact, they've convinced the folks at Car Talk to go back on an earlier decision to stop using Real Audio. However, they've lost the trust of so many people, it may be too late.
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