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Friday, October 24, 2003
Roxio posts heavy losses

Toast maker Roxio has posted its second fiscal quarter results, for the period ending September 30. Roxio is less than a week away from re-launching famed music sharing service Napster, this time as a legitimate commercial music downloading service set to go head-to-head with Apple's own iTunes Music Store.

Roxio reported net revenue of $22.8 million, a $5.1 million year-over-year drop. The company posted a net loss of $11.9 million for the second quarter, compared to a $1.8 million loss for the same quarter a year ago.

Roxio chairman and CEO Chris Gorog lauded his company's release of Toast 6 Titanium, the latest major version of its CD and DVD burning software for the Mac. He noted that the company has planned a new version of its Creator digital media suite for Microsoft's Windows for 2004, which will integrate Napster 2.0 as well.

The current release of Roxio's Windows-only digital media suite is what the company is pinning its financial hopes on for the fiscal fourth quarter, according to Roxio chief financial officer Elliot Carpenter. Carpenter indicated that Roxio is in the midst of a tough quarter.

How will Napster's relaunch affect Roxio's revenue? Carpenter offered the following: "While we are not providing pre-launch revenue or loss per share guidance for the online music division, we plan to provide a mid-quarter update and then detailed financial guidance for our online music business when we report results for the December quarter."

Napster 2.0's relaunch is set for October 29. The Windows-only service will offer $0.99 downloads and a 500,000 song library – larger even than Apple's. A Premium service will provides additional features. Roxio partnered with electronics maker Samsung to offer a digital music player especially designed to complement the Napster service, much like iPod and the iTunes Music Store.

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