“We would have had a good chance of being one of the four or five companies you think of when you think of the internet,” Glaser says of his company, RealNetworks, whose seminal online audio software arrived on the scene just as the web was reaching the mainstream in the mid-1990s. “Today, Google is one of them. Amazon is one of them. Facebook is one of them. Twitter has a chance. We were on that trajectory.”
Indeed, they were. But then Microsoft tied similar software into its Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser, and as RealNetworks lost its first-mover advantage, Glaser and company wound up as an anti-trust plaintiff struggling to find a new path onto the world’s machines.