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RealNetworks Beats Estimates as Digital Music Business Excels

RealNetworks posted better-than-expected results for the first quarter, saying quarterly earnings rose amid strong sales and a solid performance from its digital music subscription business.

The digital media company reported first-quarter earnings of 22 cents a share, compared with 14 cents in earnings in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 50% to $129.5 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 17 cents a share on revenue of $125 million.

The chief executive of Seattle-based RealNetworks said the results represent a great start for 2007.

"Our first quarter results reflect good progress on several fronts, including successfully integrating WiderThan into Real, continued games innovation, and strengthening our music subscription business and the Rhapsody.com web experience," said CEO Rob Glaser, in a prepared statement.

RealNetworks acquired South Korean mobile entertainment firm WiderThan in September 2006 for $350 million.

The company said first-quarter earnings included proceeds from the settlement with Microsoft, but payments during the quarter were substantially lower than the $400 million payout of a year ago.

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