RealNetworks Files Format Suit Against MLB Advanced Media

Last month, RealNetworks filed suit against Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) in federal court, in order to enforce a new contract entered into between the parties in February 2004. The contract requires MLBAM to make its Internet broadcasts of live baseball games on available in RealNetworks’ media format. has been streaming using Microsoft’s Windows Media Player.
RealNetworks is also seeking a temporary restraining order for immediate enforcement of the contract, allowing users to select between RealNetwork’s technology and Microsoft’s technology.
RealNetworks has worked with MLBAM since the beginning of the 2001 season to broadcast baseball games over the Internet exclusively in Real format. In February, RealNetworks lost their exclusivity but required MLBAM to offer the Real format as one of the choices of streaming formats. Premium media content on is only available through Windows Media format.
Four months ago, RealNetworks filed a suit accusing Microsoft of anti-competitive behavior in the digital media player market.
According to published reports citing Nielson/NetRatings for January 2004, Windows Media Player had approximately 34% market share in the U.S., compared with almost 19% for the RealOne player and 10% for Apple’s QuickTime player.