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Group says bug's from Real

A computer technology group claims that RealNetworks itself caused a glitch that rendered its software inoperable with Windows.

The war of words between RealNetworks and Microsoft took another turn as a computer technology group claimed that RealNetworks itself caused a glitch that rendered its software inoperable with Windows products.

A group called the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) yesterday said its tests prove that RealNetworks' software was the source of the bug that rendered the prototype version of its G2 streaming software inoperable. The test results confirm similar reports from other PC labs.

The bug became the source of much controversy after RealNetworks chief executive Rob Glaser accused Microsoft of intentionally disabling its software in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

ACT said tests supervised by association president Mike Sax, also president of Sax Software, uncovered a bug in the G2 player. As a result of the bug, other software cannot properly recognize the presence of Real's software. The organization said it has posted a means of fixing the software on its Web site.

The organization is funded by several different sources, one of which is Microsoft, according to Sax. The report itself was not paid for by any of the firms involved, Sax noted.

In an effort to quell concerns about the organization's objectivity, Sax added, "I'm in a similar position as RealNetworks. My company competes with Microsoft [in the market for programming tools]"--the difference being that Microsoft hasn't yet invested in his company.

RealNetworks did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.

None of the other companies involved could immediately be reached for comment.

The Association for Competitive Technology has supported Microsoft in its legal fight in the past. It lists Symantec chief executive Gordon Eubanks, ChiliSoft's Charles Crystle, and Visio's Ted Johnson among its founding members.