Microsoft is immediately selling its 10 per cent stake Real Networks, the company which accused the Seattle giant of corporate sabotage.
Real Networks makes streaming media software for broadcasting video and audio via the Internet. Microsoft also makes streaming media products, but drags its feet behind Real Networks in marketshare.
Microsoft said that it first notified Real Networks in June that it planned to sell its minority stake in the company, but the two sides could not come to an agreement. Microsoft then took the decision to sell its shares on the open market.
"A company like Microsoft makes a decision for a million different reasons and a million different circumstances," said Rob Glaser, Real Network's chief executive. "I don't think they needed the cash. But I think it's pretty clear that the companies are not marching in lockstep,? he continued.
?Microsoft and Real Networks are each developing exciting technologies, but the rapid pace of innovation and our competing visions for streaming media means our investment in Real Networks no longer makes sense,? explained Greg Maffei, Microsoft?s chief financial officer in a statement.
Microsoft made no mention of the pitch battle the companies have been fighting this year over their competing media stream players.
Real Networks is believed to have been preparing for its divorce from Microsoft for some time. During the past two months, the company has been aggressively rallying support for its software, forging relations with Netscape Communications, America Online, and IBM's Lotus Development unit.
Last year Real Networks struck a deal with Microsoft to integrate its technology into Microsoft?s Internet Explorer browser. Together the companies said they planned to promote a common standard for streaming media.
The relationship, however, quickly soured amid bitter recriminations. In July Glaser testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee and accused Microsoft of playing around with its Windows operating system to disable Real Networks' Real System G2 streaming media software.
Glaser is one of a string of executives, including representatives of Netscape Communications and Apple Computer, testifying at the government's antitrust trial of Microsoft, alleging that the software giant wrote software to be incompatible with their products. Microsoft denies the allegations.
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