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Real, based in Seattle, offers a profound example of how markedly fortunes can change in the technology business. In the field it pioneered in the 1990s, distributing and playing music and video online, the company has been largely eclipsed by rivals like Microsoft, Apple and YouTube from Google.
Though Real’s stock price rose slightly last week upon release of the new RealPlayer, it is still down by about half since the start of 2008. And the company’s market valuation of $419 million is only a little more than the $370 million in cash it has sitting in the bank.