By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
January 31, 2008

Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes passed RealNetwork’s (RNWK) RealPlayer in November 2007 to take the No. 2 slot in streaming media players, according to a new report from

Although Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Media Player is still No. 1, with nearly a 50% market share, its growth has leveled off over the past year.

In fact, iTunes is the only one of the big four players, including Apple’s own QuickTime, to show positive growth lately. (see chart) As the report puts it:

Growing at an annual rate of 26.8%, iTunes hit a high note while the rest of the band was flat. (link)

RealNetworks was a pioneer in streaming media, having introduced its first player in 1995. Its market share might not be stagnating if it weren’t so hard these days to find the free “basic” player on its website amid all the 14-day trials.

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