Pacific Northwest RealNetworks said first-quarter sales rose to a record $76.6 million, topping its forecast. The company earlier predicted...

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First-quarter sales exceed forecast

RealNetworks said first-quarter sales rose to a record $76.6 million, topping its forecast.

The company earlier predicted sales of $73 million to $74.5 million, and a loss of 1 or 2 cents a share. RealNetworks, which sells songs and music-playing software on the Internet, didn’t disclose net income in its statement yesterday. Full financial results will be released May 4.

In last year’s first quarter, the company had a net loss of $10.4 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $60.4 million.

Sales rose in the latest period as subscribers to the company’s music services, including Rhapsody and so-called Internet radio, topped 1 million.


Paul Allen company loses its first CEO

Jim Billmaier stepped down Monday as chief executive of Digeo, a position he has held since the Kirkland digital media company was founded by Paul Allen in 1999.

Billmaier’s departure was by mutual agreement, the company said yesterday. Digeo’s board, chaired by Allen, is looking for a replacement. In the interim, the position will be filled by Chris Purcell, who joined Digeo’s board earlier this year and is the vice president of technology for Allen’s Vulcan development company.


Air Europa orders three more 737-800s

Boeing won an order from Air Europa for three 737-800 airliners, adding to the Spanish carrier’s earlier contracts for the model.

Air Europa, Spain’s third-largest airline, will receive the single-aisle planes in 2007, the carrier said in a statement released Tuesday.

Air Europa had previously ordered five 737-800s, including three to be delivered this year, the statement said.

Cingular Wireless

Merger costs lead to first-quarter loss

Cingular Wireless yesterday reported it swung to a loss in the first quarter, and said its merger with Redmond-based AT&T Wireless is on or ahead of schedule.

The Atlanta-based company lost $240 million on sales of $8.2 billion, moving into the red from a year-earlier profit of $215 million on sales of $4 billion.

The company said the quarter’s highlight was adding 1.4 million subscribers to make it the largest U.S. carrier with 50.4 million total subscribers, a sign that its merger with AT&T Wireless was going well.

“Many of our merger initiatives — from back-office systems, to selecting and deploying teams of talented people — continue to be on schedule. In short, the merger is not only working but working better every day,” said Cingular Chief Executive Stan Sigman.

Contributing to the company’s loss was the $105 million in operating expenses due to merger-integration costs in the first quarter. Those expenses are expected to drop as the cost savings from the acquisition, completed in October, kick in during the second half of the year, the company said.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Bloomberg News



Archipelago deal a transforming one

The 213-year-old New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) vaulted into the top ranks of electronic stock trading yesterday, announcing a merger with all-electronic rival Archipelago in a stunning move that will also transform the NYSE into a for-profit, publicly traded enterprise.

The NYSE, famous around the world for its busy trading floor, says it has no intention of becoming an entirely computer-based exchange. Instead, by offering a fast electronic option alongside the slower but less volatile floor-based operation, the NYSE hopes to effectively compete with its chief U.S. rival, the Nasdaq Stock Market, and tackle increasing global competition.


Bid best we can do, Ore. governor says

Portland’s bid to buy Enron subsidiary Portland General Electric is the best the state of Oregon can offer after state regulators rejected a $2.35 billion deal with a Texas investment firm last month, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski told Enron interim CEO Stephen Cooper yesterday.

Kulongoski met privately with Cooper on a visit to PGE headquarters to discuss the state role in the city offer.

The governor said the state will not offer a competing bid and is only interested in making sure outlying counties in the utility’s service area are represented on the board of any municipal utility that is created to purchase PGE.

Compiled from The Associated Press