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Delays fuel Macromedia losses

The software maker's stock falls after the company says it expects a substantial loss stemming from product delays.

Macromedia (MACR) stock fell today after the company announced that it expects a substantial fourth-quarter loss stemming from product delays.

Macromedia shares closed at 8-21/32, down 17/32 of a point from yesterday, a change of nearly six percent.

The software tools developer reported late yesterday that it anticipates a large loss for the quarter ending March 31 because of lower revenues from the delay in releasing its Director 6.0 Multimedia Studio software.

Macromedia had earlier expected to ship Director 6.0 in March, but that has been pushed back to the June quarter. Bugs in the software led to the decision to delay the release date.

"We concluded that we would not be able to resolve all outstanding issues in time to deliver Director 6.0 consistent with our high-quality standards by the end of the month and, therefore, decided that it would be prudent to take some additional time," president Rob Burgess said in a statement.

Wall Street has been expecting the company to report net earnings of 2 cents a share, according to First Call. Macromedia expects to report its fourth-quarter results in mid-April, a company spokeswoman said.

Macromedia's stock plummeted in early January, when it traded around $18 a share. The sell-off occurred after the company reported an unexpected third-quarter loss of $2.4 million after cutting the price on its Authorware Interactive Studio software.

Macromedia's fourth quarter will mark the second consecutive three-month period that the company has posted a surprise loss. The software maker, facing stiff competition in the multimedia arena, has seen its revenues and profits fall for several months.

(Bud Colligan, chairman of Macromedia, is a board member of CNET: The Computer Network.)