Rob Glaser (Photo: Tyler Sipe)
Rob Glaser (Photo: Tyler Sipe)

Rob Glaser is not wasting any time cleaning house.

Two weeks after the company reappointed the founder as CEO, it said today it has trimmed its workforce by 10 percent.

RealNetworks said it cut 85 positions worldwide today, leaving it with roughly 765 employees. The Seattle-based digital media pioneer did not provide a lot of details about what positions or divisions were being eliminated, other than to say it was primarily related to its “legacy business.”

We’ve asked a spokeswoman for more details, but did not hear back immediately.

UPDATE: In a note Glaser sent to RealNetworks’ employees earlier this afternoon, and later posted to Facebook, he provided a little more context on the reasons behind the layoffs. “Transitioning Real from a focus on our legacy businesses to a company driven by our new growth initiatives is a hard process. Sometimes the transition isn’t as smooth as we wish were the case, and this is one of those times. Having said that, our board, our senior management team, and I all believe that we are on the right track with our new initiatives.”

In recent years, RealNetworks has struggled to find traction and profits, but as part of the announcement that Glaser was back in charge, the company emphasized its new RealPlayer Cloud video-sharing technology, which has surpassed 5 million users.

In a document filed with the SEC, RealNetworks said it expects to record up to $2 million in charges associated with this reduction in force in the quarter ending Sept. 30.

The layoffs are reminiscent of an announcement made almost exactly two years ago. At the time, it reduced its workforce from 1,140 people to about 980 people through two stages of layoffs. In the first wave, 80 people were sacked, and in the second phase — to take place three to seven months later — another 80 would be let go. In addition, the company has taken other measures to downsize over the years, including the spin-off off of Rhapsody, for which it still owns a 45 percent stake.

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  • BreakingBad

    RealNetworks is no longer at 2601 Elliott. That old photo is, well, old.

  • Tricia Duryee

    Good point, I changed the art…

  • Dave

    Real Networks entire business seems legacy. I’m surprised they are still around and shocked they have 700+ employees. Very few 15 year old, sub-$300 market cap, declining businesses generate so much discussion.

  • Dave

    The exit memo post was helpful to see. The real question is what are the growth initiatives? Why will they be any more successful than the 50 or 100 other things Real has tried over the years? The company exists because of the cash from the Microsoft antitrust settlement and the Nokia patent sale. It has been 10+ years since Real had anything new or valuable. Why will this time be any different?

    • Kaboom

      The growth initiatives are probably Gamehouse, Listen, and Realplayer Cloud.

  • Snagglepusbucket

    Wow. RealNetworks is still in business? Please tell me they’ve at least moved on beyond their hated RealPlayer, the bane of Windows media users in the late 90s/early 00s. I thought they went out of business ten or twelve years ago–that’s how visible they’ve been where I come from (I.e. computer-nerd/software-engineering circles in small-to-mid-sized Fortune 500 corporations in the Northeastern US)… Amazing.

  • Cole Thatcher

    Probably because they hired non-whites. How many white people work there? Any stats?

    • Guest

      It’s about 50 white.

      • Jillxz

        50 Whites so what are the others ? Blacks , Asians , Hispanic ?

        • Guest

          Native America and Pacific Islander

  • Ain’tNoSunshine

    He said “our board, our senior management team, and I all believe that we are on the right track with our new initiatives” but I think in Seattle it is common knowledge that this time he’s loaded the board with people who were chosen by him to parrot what he says so he doesn’t run into another scenario like he did in 2010 when he was asked to leave by the board. This is now a company where the “governance” is Rob himself. Anyone want to guess why the new office is right across the street from the Mariners stadium? Or did you think that was just a coincidence? :)

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