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RealNetworks surges on Sony alliance

RealNetworks Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK) shares jumped 9 percent Monday after the company announced a strategic alliance with Sony Corp.

The company, which makes streaming media software, saw its shares rise 9 percent to 24 in morning trading.

Under the terms of the deal, Sony (NYSE: SNE) will include RealPlayer and RealJukebox with the company's portable music devices and VAIO PCs starting in 2001.

RealNetworks will license Sony's ATRAC3 audio compression technology for RealSystem 8, which was released on Monday. RealNetworks is also licensing OpenMG, Sony's copyright protection technology, and will add support for it in the future.

The move is designed to help the companies take on Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT), which has been gaining market share with its Windows Media Player.

The alliance with RealNetworks further broadens the industry support of Sony' ATRAC3 technology, bringing the total number of licensees to 21.

RealNetworks shares have been volatile of late. Last week, shares tanked on concerns about online advertising, but rebounded a day later on a pact with IBM (NYSE: IBM).


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