Investors keep buying into different versions of RealNetworks (NASDAQ:RNWK). Some have invested on the heels of its settlement with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which will fatten its already cash-stocked balance sheet. Others have bought into RealNetworks for its popular Rhapsody digital music subscription program, which continues to gain new listeners. Still others are buying into RealNetworks for the lucrative deals it brokers with wireless giants. Last night, as it does every three months, the company revealed the sum of those parts in its latest earnings statement.

RealNetworks posted earnings of $0.06 a share on a 20% spurt in revenues. The profit reversed a year-ago loss, though the company has been in the black for all three quarters of 2005. The current quarter will be a winner, thanks to Microsoft's nine-figure apology. RealNetworks will earn between $1.42 and $1.48 per share for the period. Obviously, though, that will be a one-time boost -- don't even try to incorporate those lofty sums into the company's earnings multiples.

Rhapsody's subscriber base has doubled over the past year to 1.3 million users. Yes, this is a competitive niche. Even though RealNetworks was a pioneer in digital music, it has to compete against the likes of Napster (NASDAQ:NAPS) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) in music subscription services, as well as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft when it comes to paid downloads.

Given its 184 million diluted shares outstanding, I'd really like to see RealNetworks use some of its balance sheet greenery to buy back even more shares. As strong as RealNetworks may appear to be, its earnings are getting watered down among all that stock. Unless RealNetworks is planning to buy out Napster or make any other synergistic acquisition, it's not likely to need all the money that's collecting cobwebs in its coffers.

Maybe that makes me part of yet another group of folks considering RealNetworks as a potential purchase. Am I the superficial type if the RealNetworks I want is a thinner one?

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a huge fan of online multimedia, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.