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Xing seeks exit in bug battle

The firm appears to be seeking a graceful exit to the heated bug battle that erupted between RealNetworks and Microsoft.

Xing Technology appears to be seeking a graceful exit from the heated bug battle between RealNetworks and Microsoft that erupted last week.

In a statement, Xing said it wished to "clarify some questions that arose" as a result of the controversy, which swept up the video technology company in the process. In testimony on Thursday, RealNetworks chief executive Rob Glaser alleged that Microsoft's Windows Media Player disabled his company's RealPlayer, sparking controversy throughout the industry.

On Friday, Glaser turned up the heat: He said he stood by his testimony, which Microsoft called false, and held a press conference alleging that other companies experienced similar problems.

"After yesterday's testimony by RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser, other companies, notably Xing and Digital Bitcasting, have stood up today to announce that [Media Player] also disables their products," RealNetworks said. "Thus the issue is not simply a dispute between Microsoft and RealNetworks."

Since then, however, sources said that Xing has asked that its name be removed from this statement, which appeared on RealNetworks' Web site. A Xing executive did not speak at Friday's press briefing.

As of today, Xing's name was removed from the RealNetworks statement.

A Xing spokeswoman declined comment. But Xing's response did not confirm that Media Player disables its product, as RealNetworks had charged on Friday.

Instead, it read: "When the Xing player is installed on a PC with the Windows Media Player, it will replace the Windows Media Player as the default player of MPEG content. Just like the XingMPEG Player, when Windows Media Player is installed after the Xing player, the Windows Media Player automatically becomes the default MPEG player.

"Xing is looking forward to working together with Microsoft to ensure that customers get the best possible user experience playing multimedia on their PCs."

Microsoft has called Glaser's comments untrue. In a letter to Glaser yesterday, Yusuf Mehdi, director of Windows marketing, said the result of the RealNetworks CEO's testimony "was that the United States Senate and the American public were misled, and some extremely serious allegations--allegations that turned out to be completely untrue--were leveled against Microsoft." Glaser used to work at Microsoft.

In the letter, Mehdi also said, "We are providing RealNetworks with instructions for a work-around for our mutual customers. The instructions were sent on Friday afternoon to you and your development team by some of our engineers."

It went on to say: "As you know,...Microsoft's product, like yours and products from Xing, Digital Bitcasting, and many others, changes the default playback method for various formats of multimedia content. The user has many options to change this default after the players are installed."

RealNetworks spokespeople did not return phone calls seeking comment on either Microsoft's or Xing's statements.

"Your claims that we somehow intentionally disabled your beta were troubling and frankly a little frustrating given that our testing, and the tests of a respected independent lab, have revealed that the problem you blamed Microsoft for is in fact a bug in your beta software," Mehdi said.