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Creative suffers poor fourth quarter

iPod rival manufacturer hit hard

Creative, the leading challenger to the iPod in the digital music player market, reported its second consecutive quarterly loss as it battles strong competition from rivals and mobile phones with built-in music players.

The Singaporean company said it lost $12.7m (about £6.7m) during the three months ended 30 June, its fiscal fourth quarter, as its sales plunged from $305.4m (£160.4m) in the same quarter a year ago to $230.9m (£121.3m).

The results brought its full-year loss to $118.2m (£62.1m) on sales of $1.13bn (£593.4m). In fiscal 2005, Creative reported a net profit of $588,000 (£309,000) on sales of $1.23bn (£645.9m).

Creative vowed to return to profitability by the end of 2006, and promised continued profitability thereafter.

Some analysts, however, are sceptical. Digital music players and accessories accounted for 65 percent of Creative's revenue in the quarter, and that's where competition is toughest.

It's not just Apple the company has to worry about. Major handset makers, including Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson, have all launched popular mobile phones that offer music and even video player functions.

Now that mobile phone companies have the digital music player market in their sights and on their handsets, users may opt for the convenience of listening to music on their mobile phones instead of carrying around multiple devices, analysts say.

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