But what of the battle to actually own the online video space?

RealNetworks helped kick off the revolution in Webcasting when it brought out real RealAudio in 1995. Two years later it came back with RealVideo, just as Microsoft launched NetShow and Apple produced QuickTime.

Since Microsoft entered the market it has been at loggerheads with RealNetworks to offer access to the biggest video events, trying to achieve as many downloads for its software as possible.

RealNetworks did well in 2000 when its RealPlayer software was used exclusively on the Big Brother Web site to provide live audio and video access to the house. Over half a million people downloaded it for this specific purpose, despite Microsoft’s launch of version 7 of Windows Media Player.

At the time RealNetworks was said to have 85% of the market for streaming media, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Since then RealNetworks has won a deal with AOL whereby its technology is distributed as part of AOL’s Netscape browser. Yahoo! decided to distribute its own media player based on Microsoft’s technology.

Then there was the 2000 Madonna comeback concert in Brixton Academy, which Microsoft claimed was responsible for 9m downloads of its MediaPlayer, and spent $30m (