RealNetworks will license technology from Apple for streaming audio and video content over the Web, and support Apple's QuickTime format in its RealServer 8 software product, the companies announced Monday. The licensing deal means that content providers who use RealServer will be able to distribute audio and video that can be played back by users who have installed Apple's QuickTime player, RealNetworks officials said. In March, RealNetworks licensed Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio (WMA) software developer kit. That deal allowed users with RealNetworks' RealJukebox player to listen to sound files delivered via Microsoft's WMA format. Microsoft, Apple and RealNetworks provide the three most popular formats used for streaming audio and video files over the Web. RealNetworks announced Version 8 of its RealSystem streaming media software last month. RealServer is one of the components of RealSystem. RealServer 8 can deliver VHS-quality video at connection speeds of around 200K bps (kilobits per second), according to RealNetworks, a considerable improvement over the previous version of the software. A preview version of RealServer 8 that includes support for QuickTime is available now from RealNetworks' Web site. The commercial release of RealServer 8 is scheduled for the second half of the year. RealNetworks and Apple also said they have agreed to back the "Ask, Tell, Help" initiative. Companies in the initiative agree to ensure that their respective player applications won't change the default settings on a user's existing media player without first asking for the user's permission.