If you've dabbled in computers long enough you remember when Creative Technology
It's in the share price for starters. Creative's groundbreaking peripherals have become commodities, and investors have turned down the volume. Today the stock trades at just a quarter of what it fetched at its peak three years ago.
Last night, Creative reported fiscal 2003 results, posting earnings of $0.29. Sales again fell -- this time to $701.8 million. In fiscal 2000, by contrast, the company earned $1.86 a share on $1.3 billion in sales. The top line has fallen every year since.
It's not that Creative isn't trying. The company continues to acquire smaller players in an effort to resume its growing ways and will roll out 90 new products in fiscal 2004.
So why aren't folks buying into Creative's storage devices, MP3 players, and web cams? Well, they are, only at lower prices.
Creative's NOMAD MP3 jukeboxes are looking awfully sleek and pack a lot of juicy specs, but Apple
In last night's release, Creative Labs President Craig McHugh gushed over upcoming product lines. He bragged about the "killer looks" of the new speaker systems. One wonders what's the bigger shame -- a corporate bigwig using the word "killer" or the fact that Creative is down to praising the appearance of something that should be heard rather than seen.
As management struggles to reposition Creative, a cash-rich balance sheet and (meager) profitability should contain the stock's downside. But the upside catalyst just isn't there yet. Catalysts are, after all, to be seen rather than heard.
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