Among home PC users, RealPlayer picked up 4.4 million users while ICQ's following grew by 2.8 million during the second quarter of 1998, according to a new Media Metrix study comparing usage with the previous quarter. The survey tracked 28,000 users, monitoring software and hardware usage.
RealPlayer's big numbers follow on the heels of big user gains reported last month, when the streaming media firm announced that 3.5 million users downloaded its software, setting a company record.
|Top home-use software|
|June '98 rank||Application / software||Unique users (000)||Percent reach||March '98 rank|
|4||Microsoft Entertainment Pack||14,132||19.5||4|
|Source: Media Metrix|
RealPlayer is a streaming audio and video software product that enables users to download Web multimedia. Mirabilis's ICQ is a popular instant messaging service. Both software programs can be downloaded for free. Mirabilis is a subsidiary of Internet service giant America Online.
The rise of new computer purchases and the fast-selling PalmPilot are among factors that have contributed to a fertile market for these software gains, as new software is beginning to surfaces for users sporting speedy new machines.
"Potentially people have upgraded their systems so they can handle these applications," a Media Metrix spokeswoman said.
The study also revealed that working at home is on the rise. "A lot of people are using applications they would use at work at home," the spokeswoman said.
While RealPlayer and ICQ stood out as the biggest gainers, Microsoft software held nearly all of the top ten positions in terms of number of overall users, with Microsoft Office, Word, and Notepad at the head of the list.
RealNetwork's RealPlayer, Intuit's Quicken, and Interplay's Solitaire were the only non-Microsoft products to make the top ten. The new figures boosted RealPlayer into elite company, up from number 24 in overall number of home users. ICQ moved up to number 27 from last quarter's position at number 39.
The new data underscores RealNetworks's efforts to gain market share after a high publicized confrontation with rival Microsoft over alleged compatibility issues between RealPlayer and Windows software. Last July, RealNetworks chief executive officer Rob Glaser went before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify that Microsoft's Media Player "disabled" beta versions of RealPlayer, allegations that the software giant refuted.
Media Metrix claims to be the pioneer of the monitoring software used to track the studies' data. The company likened its study results to a Nielsen rating that marketers use extensively.