Mad Hatter Leads RealNetworks to Sun for Distribution Deal

9/10/2003 - In an expansion of partners supporting Sun's Project Mad Hatter desktop for PC and workstation users, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) and RealNetworks, Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK), announced the completion of an agreement granting Sun the right to redistribute RealNetworks' award-winning RealPlayer. Project Mad Hatter continues to drive community momentum, as the focal point of Sun's drive to provide a secure, complete and highly-affordable enterprise desktop solution. RealPlayer supports a variety of file formats including MP3 as well as RealAudio and RealVideo, and will enable users to enjoy the most varied and popular business, education and entertainment content on Sun's desktop offerings.

Today's market dictates that CIOs develop a desktop computing strategy that addresses total cost-of-ownership issues, the mobilization of the workforce through effective communication as well as the ever-present requirements for increased security, all without giving up the complete functionality that desktop professionals expect. Sun's Mad Hatter products address these issues by providing enterprise customers with a secure and cost-effective desktop alternative based on open standards. The bundling of the RealPlayer with the Mad Hatter desktop product line underscores the shared commitment of Sun Microsystems and RealNetworks to build products based on open standards and with multi-format interoperability.

"RealNetworks has always set the standard for innovation and excellence with media on the Internet -- we're delighted they've joined the industry's most focused effort to provide a secure, more affordable and more innovative desktop environment," said Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president, Sun Software, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "RealNetworks joins as the first of many industry titans to fuel the momentum that promises to ease the pain of viruses, open the industry to neutral file formats and DRM standards, and unleash a burgeoning market opportunity."

The companies also announced that Sun will collaborate with RealNetworks and the Helix community, (, on development of the Helix Player, an open source-based, next-generation media player for Linux, Solaris and Unix. The Helix Player will be built on top of the Helix DNA[tm], the first open, multi-format platform for digital media creation, delivery and playback. RealNetworks recently announced that more than 20,000 developers have joined the Helix community.

"In the coming years we expect to see continued innovation and growth in the open standards-based desktop market fueled significantly by efforts like Sun's Mad Hatter product line," said Martin Plaehn, executive vice president Products and Services, RealNetworks, Inc. "Through our Helix community, RealNetworks continues to demonstrate our commitment to enabling all platforms, including Solaris and Linux, with the media engine behind our award-winning RealPlayer -- the Helix DNA Client. We are delighted to see Sun making an expanded investment in desktop applications that leverage our robust Helix DNA Client software."

Project Mad Hatter, will formally be launched this month at SunNetwork 2003 in San Francisco. Mad Hatter will provide enterprise customers with a secure and cost-effective desktop alternative to today's expensive, proprietary PC desktops. The integrated platform is based entirely on open standards and includes the key desktop applications necessary to provide users with a more secure and stable environment. The solution includes the award-winning StarOffice personal productivity suite, which reads and writes Microsoft file formats; the latest version of Sun's Java technology platform; the latest GNOME desktop environment; messaging, calendaring and instant messaging; connectivity to existing enterprise messaging servers for file and print sharing; and support for the industry standard Java Card platform for SmartCard authentication and security. For more information about Project Mad Hatter visit

About Helix
Helix represents a platform, HelixDNA, and a community,, for the standardization and expansion of digital media. The Helix DNA consists ofsource code for creation, delivery and playback of digital media developed by RealNetworks over the past nine years, as well as a set of interfaces for building media-enabled applications. Helix community members are able to use this source code to build media-capable products with industry-leading technology and commonly used interfaces. The Helix community offers source code of Helix DNA under commercial community and open source licenses. RealNetworks has also released a family of commercial products built on top of the Helix DNA platform, including the free RealOne Player, Helix Producer Plus, and the Helix Universal Server.

About RealNetworks
RealNetworks, Inc. is the leading global provider of network-delivered digital audio and video services and the creator of the technology that enables digital media creation, distribution and consumption. Consumers use RealNetworks' RealOne Player and RealNetworks' content subscription service, RealOne SuperPass, to play free and premium digital content. Broadcasters, network operators, media companies and enterprises use RealNetworks' products and services to deliver digital media to PCs, mobile phones and consumer electronics devices. Consumers can access and experience audio/video programming and download RealNetworks' consumer software at RealNetworks' systems and corporate information is located at

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Java, StarOffice, Sun ONE, Solaris and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. RealNetworks, Helix and RealOne are trademarks or registered trademarks of RealNetworks, Inc.

Previous Page | News by Category | News Search

If you found this page useful, bookmark and share it on: