iPod users steal music, according to RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser.

Speaking to The Guardian, he said: "If you want interoperable music today, there is a very easy solution: it's called stealing. The average number of songs sold for the iPod is 25, and there are many more songs on iPods than 25. About half the music on iPods is music obtained illegitimately either from an illegal peer-to-peer networks or from ripping friends' CDs, which is illegal," he claimed.

Glaser bemoaned the failure of companies other than Apple to create a digital music player that works, but speculated that this advantage wouldn't last forever.

Despite Apple's lead, Glaser thinks Real can compete – and is waiting to draw a winning hand. "We can compete, but isn't it better to wait until you have a slam-dunk solution in the portable context?" he said.

"In the US a lot of iPod users also use our Rhapsody product, but we think being head to head is inevitable because Apple is pretty ambitious about how it wants to use its closed eco-system."

This story first appeared on Macworld.co.uk.