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RealNetworks CEO To Step Down

Rob Glaser will remain chairman of the company's board.
RealNetworks' Rob Glaser has stepped down as CEO, according to an announcement from the company, which said Glaser will remain as chairman of the firm's board of directors. The announcement follows close on the heels of the resignation of RealNetworks' chief operating officer John Giamatteo.

The company said Robert Kimball, who has served recently as RealNetworks' general counsel and executive VP of corporate development, has been named president and acting CEO of the company. Kimball joined RealNetworks a decade ago and has been a member of the senior executive team since 2003.

A pugnacious but innovative executive, Glaser battled Microsoft, his former employer, as he pushed digital audio and video technology products to the Internet. Already a wealthy man from his days as an early Microsoft employee, Glaser later tangled with Microsoft and won a huge $700 million-plus settlement from the software colossus in 2005.

In recent years and months, however, his attempt to market a DVD copying product ran into headwinds when Hollywood studios were able to thwart RealNetworks' attempts to market the product.

"After nearly 16 years, I've decided it's time for me to step away from day-to-day operations," said Glaser in a statement. "I remain committed to the company and look forward to continuing to serve in my capacity as board chairman."

Glaser said Kimball will be a candidate for the permanent CEO post as the company begins a formal search process that is scheduled to get underway soon. Giamatteo's resignation was disclosed this week in a RealNetworks filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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