In The Pay of Foundations—Part 17
How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a "parallel left" media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.
Even after Democracy Now! funder Rob Glaser finally left Microsoft in 1993 to establish his own for-profit company which, according to Robert Reid's Architects of the Web book, he "started ramping up" in 1994, that was initially called "Progressive Networks" (but renamed RealNetworks Inc. in 1997), the former Microsoft VP continued to be connected on a business level to Gates, Microsoft and current or former Microsoft executives in the late 1990s. As Randall Stross's The Microsoft Way book noted in 1996:
"... Among Gates's advisors, Rob Glaser made the biggest early bet on the Internet... In late 1993, after 10 years, he left Microsoft as a full-time employee and temporarily continued on a part-time, contractual basis while he founded Progressive Networks... "
According to James Wallace's 1997 Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race To Control Cyberspace book:
"[In September 1993]... Gates phoned, and the two met at Gates's office to talk about Glaser doing some consulting work on the Marvel project headed by Siegelman. Gates said the work would be only for a few months and no more than 10 to 15 hours a week. Glaser accepted the assignment, even though at the time he was busy preparing a business plan for his own company. He had helped recruit ... Siegelman to Microsoft...
"But Gates had another assignment for Glaser in addition to the consulting work on what would become the Microsoft Network. He wanted Glaser to work directly for him, helping evaluate whether Microsoft should create an alliance with cable-TV titans Time Warner and Tele-Communications Inc... .Now, Gates's vision of Microsoft's dominance included the home television using Microsoft's software, too... Glaser made 2 rounds of recommendations to Gates... At Microsoft's insistence, Glaser would not be... specific in an interview about his recommendations... Even though Glaser was no longer working at Microsoft, he and Siegelman had talked several times since that day in mid-September when Gates had asked Glaser to evaluate Microsoft's on-line service and how it fit with the Internet... Glaser... formed his own company, called Progressive Networks. Several of his Microsoft pals... became investors... "
Charles Ferguson's 1999 High Stakes, No Prisoners book also recalled:
"In August 1995... Rob Glaser, who had just resigned from Microsoft, visited the Electronic Frontier Foundation... Glaser used Mosaic and the Web for the first time and was impressed. A month later, Glaser was hired by Gates as a consultant to advise on Web/Internet issues... Then Rob Glaser founded Progressive Networks to develop `streaming' audio technology to permit large-scale audio distribution over the Internet. Glaser was a former Microsoft executive who had recently consulted to Gates on precisely these subjects... Microsoft bought an equity stake in RealNetworks... "
And according to the 1997 Architects of the Web book:
"Rob's vice president of software development was Phil Barrett... Phil... ran `a couple of product development teams' over at Microsoft... Rob called a compression-expert that he knew from Microsoft days... The core notions behind Real Audio were fixed in no time... Rob settled firmly on the notion that Progressive would be a for-profit company... He decided that the company... would sell the software that served Real Audio files over the Internet (the Real Audio Server)... Real Audio debuted on the Web on April 10, 1995, along with content from ABC News, National Public Radio [NPR] and others... Within 2 days of Real Audio's launch, Progressive announced that Microsoft... had agreed to distribute the Real Audio Player with their browser software... By the summer of 1996, Real Audio accounted for an extraordinary 85 percent share of the Web's audio content...
"Rob... works hard to position himself as a partner, not competitor, to... two important companies. Microsoft is in fact one of Progressive's biggest customers. This, plus its crosstown location and the fact that Rob has 10 years of relationship to draw on there (including one with the Boss), makes it easy for him to keep the lines of communication and diplomacy open... "
Coincidentally, A co-founder of Glaser's Progressive Networks/RealNetworks Inc. in 1993 and 1994, David Halperin, had previously worked as former Democratic Johnson Administration Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's research assistant in 1985 and 1986; and, between 1991 and 1993, the co-founder of Glaser's Real Networks firm worked as a counsel to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. In addition, between 1997 and 2001, Halperin later worked as the special assistant to the president for national security affairs and director for speech-writing at the National Security Council in the Clinton White House.
According to an Aug. 1, 1999 Wired magazine article by Randall Rothenberg:
"The product of a suburban New York prep school favored by... liberals... Glaser may have seemed like an atypical Microsoftie... . In 1993, after rising to become the company's youngest vice president and gaining a reputation as a demanding boss, Glaser lost a bureaucratic tussle over control of the company's multimedia operations to Nathan Myhrvold, prompting Glaser to resign.
"With a Yale friend, David Halperin, Glaser hatched vague plans for a company that would link television to the nascent Internet...Glaser, with some of his Microsoft millions, quickly hired a trio of engineers to develop the software... . Not long after, the two demonstrated the system to an informal group of liberal advisers at a Washington, DC, hotel... . his friends convinced him to drop the politics, focus on streaming, and donate the resulting profits to their favored causes... .Lotus founder Mitch Kapor and Mike Slade, who'd left Microsoft... were early investors. Kapor also introduced Glaser to the venture capital firm Accel Partners. Glaser, who retains 40 percent of his company (currently valued in excess of $1.5 billion [in 1999]), sold more than 10 percent to Accel for $5 million... .Shares ... have risen almost tenfold since the public offering in late 1997... In fiscal 1998, software licensing fees - primarily from server software - were $47 million. Eighty-five percent of streaming media broadcasts, Real says, use its technology [in 1999]... "
In a Sept. 4, 2000 Fortune magazine article, Amy Kovner indicated how Glaser's RealNetworks Inc. firm made some big money in the late 1990s (when its co-founder, David Halperin, was working as a special assistant to Democratic President Clinton for national security affairs):
"... Glaser has been expanding RealNetworks' reach into every nook and cranny of the digital-media terrain... .Real firmly dominates the $900 million streaming-media business. Over 85% of the streaming content on the Web comes in Real's format. The company has at least four revenue sources, ranging from digital-media players to content-delivery networks. Its sales have grown 135% a year, reaching $131 million in 1999, when Real managed the undot-commy feat of turning a $7 million profit... .
"If you're wondering how RealNetworks makes any money at all, you're not alone. ... First off, more than 1% of the people who download the RealPlayer... actually buy a souped-up version known as the RealPlayerPlus. At $29.99 a pop, Real has raked in about $40 million from that tiny sliver of users. Real also makes money from the Websites whose songs you listen to... .About 600,000 Websites use Real to deliver their audio and video content, accounting for about a quarter of Real's revenues... Last quarter, Real's ad revenues... increased by 350%, to more than $14 million. ... `We've really benefited from being able to show streaming-media ads,' says Lucy Mohl, the head of programming for RealNetworks and a former movie critic for NBC... So Real is rolling in dough. ... CNN.com and ABC are both major buyers of Real technology... ."
But Randall Rothenberg's Wired magazine article by Randall Rothenberg article also contained the following reference in 1999 to the RealNetworks Inc. CEO whose tax-exempt Glaser Progress Foundation has been funding the parallel left Democracy Now! show since 2001:
"Here's what else Glaser knows: The downloadable revolution isn't simply about music... Anything so disruptive is, ultimately, about power, and Glaser is perfectly comfortable with that: His goal is nothing less than ruling the multibillion-dollar future of broadband... . Rob Glaser built his streaming empire...in no small part upon a mastery of the politics necessary... "
And, as David Postman's July 26, 2004 Seattle Times article, titled "RealNetworks CEO Donates Big Bucks To Politics," observed in 2004:
"... So far this year, Glaser has given more than $1 million... making him the top donor in Washington state and one of the most generous givers of any political persuasion in the nation...Through his representatives, Glaser declined to be interviewed for this story... .Glaser was an early supporter of America Coming Together (ACT), one of the biggest of the new independent political groups allying themselves with Democrats this year. Glaser has donated $750,000 to ACT and persuaded friends to give as well. When Bill Clinton visited town to promote his book, he had dinner with Glaser...His friends work for the State Department — or did during the Clinton-Gore years... Glaser met with Soros at his Long Island home to discuss funding America Coming Together...RealNetworks has been a political incubator of sorts. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., worked there between her 1994 loss of a congressional seat and her 2000 Senate victory. She largely financed her campaign using money she made at RealNetworks... In 2000, Glaser began to give more serious money — about $95,000, including $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee... .He has helped fund Democracy Now... " (end of part 17)
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