Anti-malware site StopBadware released an advisory
yesterday alerting consumers to two perfidious pieces of nastiness that Windows users should be on the lookout for: RealPlayer 10.5 and RealPlayer 11.
The company claims that the packages, both produced by RealNetworks and shipped for the purposes of watching a window with a message in the corner saying 'Buffering...' for elongated periods of time, violate the guidelines they use to differentiate software from 'badware'.
RealPlayer 10.5 is accused of misleading users by not mentioning during the installation that the Message Center component will sit in the system tray and display advertising if the user hasn't registered the software.
RealPlayer 11 has the finger pointed firmly in its direction due to the inclusion of the Rhapsody Player Engine which is installed alongside the main application without user consent. Worse, if you uninstall RealPlayer you end up with Rhapsody left behind, unless you notice it in the Add/Remove Programs list and delete it manually.
In conversations with StopBadware, RealNetworks admitted that not uninstalling Rhapsody when RealPlayer is ditched was a mistake and point out in their defence that Message Center is only bundled with the older versions of RealPlayer.
Whether the company takes StopBadware's opinion seriously enough to modify its shady practices in future versions of the software remains to be seen.
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? Let us know over in the forums