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Apple Tunes Out Music Deal Proposed By RealNetworks

Apple Computer apparently doesn’t want to sing the same tune as its Internet music rival RealNetworks.

Seattle-based RealNetworks said Thursday that Apple chairman Steve Jobs had rebuffed an offer by RealNetworks’ chief executive Rob Glaser to meet and discuss forming an online music alliance involving Apple’s best-selling iPod portable players.

Executives at Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple declined to comment Thursday.

In an interview earlier this week with The Wall Street Journal, Jobs said Apple has little incentive to open its popular digital music player to others.

“The iPod already works with the No. 1 music service in the world, and the iTunes Music Store works with the No. 1 digital-music player in the world,” he said. “The No. 2s are so far behind already. Why would we want to work with No. 2?”

As first reported in The New York Times, Glaser made the invitation in an e-mail to Jobs last week that suggested that the two companies join forces against their common enemy, Microsoft Corp. He proposed a meeting to discuss the matter this week while he was in the Silicon Valley.

As competition in the online music market has increased, RealNetworks has sought to work with Apple so RealNetworks’ customers can choose to play their music collections on Apple’s best-selling iPod portable players.

RealNetworks, Apple and Microsoft all are jockeying for position in digital media – in which encoding formats and copy-protection technologies dictate how and on which devices consumers play their music.

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