Rob Glaser
Rob Glaser

More than two years after returning as the interim CEO of RealNetworks, founder Rob Glaser was named the company’s permanent chief executive this afternoon — shedding the “interim” title and officially reclaiming the position that he held for more than 15 years.

The decision by the RealNetworks board, announced this afternoon, speaks in part to the difficulty the Seattle media company has had in finding a successor to lead the company.

When returning as interim CEO in July 2012, after the departure of two chief executives, Glaser had said he wasn’t a candidate for the permanent position.

RealNetworks, a pioneer of online media, has struggled to find traction and profits in recent years, but as part of the announcement today, the company said that its RealPlayer Cloud video-sharing technology has surpassed 5 million users.

Here’s the full news release announcing the appointment.


RealPlayer Cloud Passes 5 Million Registered Users in 9 Months

SEATTLE, July 30, 2014 – RealNetworks, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNWK) today announced that Rob Glaser – who founded the company in 1994 – has been appointed permanent CEO of the global digital media technology company.

“Rob is the best person to complete Real’s turnaround and to lead the company into the future,” said Dominique Trempont, lead independent director of the RealNetworks Board. “The Board greatly respects his leadership, vision, and the excellence of the team Rob has assembled.”

“I’m honored to be named Real’s CEO,” Glaser said. “In the 2 years I’ve been interim CEO, we’ve made tremendous progress revitalizing Real’s leadership team and products. We’ve introduced innovative and exciting new products like RealPlayer® Cloud, LISTEN™ and the upcoming Slingo® Adventure. We’ve also made great progress in revitalizing Rhapsody, in partnership with Columbus Nova and Rhapsody’s terrific management team. In this next phase, we will both continue to deliver compelling products that consumers embrace, and also leverage the popularity of our products to re-establish the company’s financial success.”

RealNetworks also announced today that RealPlayer Cloud has more than 5 million registered users, up from 2 million just 3 months ago. RealPlayer Cloud users, in the aggregate, now upload more than 4.5 terabytes of content each day. RealPlayer Cloud is now available on 11 consumer platforms, including most recently Amazon’s new Fire phone, and in 9 languages, most recently Korean and Traditional Chinese.

Yesterday, Rhapsody International – in which RealNetworks holds a 45 percent equity stake – announced it now has more than 2 million paying subscribers, up from 1.7 million just 3 months ago. Last month, Rhapsody introduced Rhapsody unRadio, a breakthrough radio-based service, in partnership with T-Mobile USA, and now also in partnership with France’s SFR under the name Napster Découverte (Napster Discovery).

Glaser founded RealNetworks in February 1994 and served as its CEO until January 2010. He was named interim CEO in July 2012. He lives in Seattle with his 3 children and his partner Maggie Savarino.



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  • FivebazillionRegisteredUsers

    The most disliked man in the Seattle tech scene has done a really incredible job since taking the helm two years ago. Just look at the 2 year stock trajectory. Perfectly flat in a market when everything else has been going up. If the stock price would only grow as fast as the number of people who (understandably) talk smack about the guy then there would be a lot of happy RNWK investors. Everyone in Seattle knows that Mr. Glaser has a long standing addiction to inflating his “registered user” numbers but it’s funny to watch him continue to do it after all these years. Relic of the internet bubble thinks tech “turnarounds” take half a decade apparently but with a board now loaded with his BFFs you can be sure that RNWK will be about as valuable two years from now as it is right now.

    • Guest123

      Maybe he should hire Maria Cantwell back, put all the idiots in one room.

      • tryingtocalmdown

        and maria is the “smart” one of our two u.s. senators.

    • tryingtocalmdown

      you think glaser is more disliked than naveen jain? well, i guess at least jain has made money for investors while glaser has not. plus who would want to run the company with big rob breathing down his or her neck daily.

  • guest



  • FivebazillionRegisteredUsers

    Both Jain and Rob could compete for the world’s least self-aware people in Seattle. Jain doesn’t think he’s a crook. And given Rob’s A+ assh$le behavior to this day, he clearly still hasn’t gotten the clue that when he leaves nearly any room, people are rolling their eyes. Even his “close” friends think he’s a complete ass. What a sorry life that guy has. On the bright side, he probably thinks it’s great. Webtard.

  • GlennKelman

    How can GeekWire play a constructive role in the tech community as a platform for hateful anonymous comments? There are times when anonymity protects truth from power, but what’s happening here is animated by hate, not truth. Rob Glaser has tried to do more and he has achieved more than almost anyone in Seattle. He is also a human being, like all of us creative and flawed, fallen and rising. Even if Rob had no power over you now, you wouldn’t talk to him this way in person.

    • Todd Bishop

      Thanks, Glenn. I’m just catching up to this, and you’re right that this comment doesn’t have a place on GeekWire. It goes against the commenting policy in our terms of service, and we’ve deleted it. Thanks again. — Todd

  • Dave

    Real’s profile in Seattle has intrigued me for years. Sub-$300MM market cap, flat stock price for 5 years, steadily declining stock price for 10 years, generally regarded as a toxic place to work, it has been 10-15 years since they had anything novel or relevant, the company survives because of the big Microsoft antirust settlement and the patent sale a few years ago.

    But Geekwire and a variety of people still talk about Real as if it were relevant. Why is that?

    BTW, Glenn’s point is a good one. I have never met Rob G, have no opinion of him and have no personal diatribes to direct to him. I do have a large number of former Real employees as friends and most refer to it as a very toxic place to work, so that comment is not directed at a person but to a place.

  • Enoughisenough

    I’d seen the comment before it was deleted. I’ll agree with Glenn that “two wrongs don’t make a right” if that’s effectively what he was trying to say. I don’t work at RealNetworks nor have I but one thing we should all be aware of as executives is that it is a small town and information flows far too freely. People share things. I hope the person who reads Glenn’s comment the most closely is Rob himself. Had Glenn seen some of the emails I’ve seen over the years that were directed towards employees, partners etc he certainly wouldn’t be defending the guy. I’m talking about emails involving wholly unacceptable personal name calling and blatant threats along the lines of “if you do X then I’ll personally take it upon myself to ruin you” type of messages. Except in many cases, worse than that. The fastest way to destroy whatever legacy you think you’re creating is to engage in name calling, terrorizing and threatening people as a matter of regular practice. Times have changed. This isn’t Microsoft 1995 anymore. This isn’t Oracle 1995 anymore. If you want respect, you’ve got to earn it daily. Being “creative and flawed” is not a license to terrorize people. It is not a license to attack people personally with name calling filth or hostile threats. I’m not defending the exact words the angry commenter left here but there is very much a “you reap what you sow” aspect to this. A good reminder for all of us. And I think most of us know that Glenn gets this and probably will be the last guy on the receiving end of such comments. Maybe the topic of professional conduct has been overlooked in our industry because it is too regularly superseded by accomplishment and wealth. In my opinion, that’s too bad.

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