Best Buy snapping up remains of Napster
Over the years, the reports of Napster's death have been greatly exaggerated. But electronics retailer Best Buy may just manage to put a stake in its heart. Best Buy is buying the online music-subscription service for $121 million — $54 million, really, after setting aside the cash in Napster's bank account. A great return on investment, considering Napster's assets last sold for $5 million out of bankruptcy in 2002, right?Wrong. Roxio, a CD-burning software company, snapped up the Napster name and the technical assets of Shawn Fanning's file-sharing startup on the cheap. But sometimes you get what you pay for. Roxio shed its software business and took the Napster name, but never figured out how to profit from it. In the last year, it lost $16.5 million. And yet Napster managed to live on. If anyone can lay it in the ground once and for all, we're betting it's Best Buy. The retailer has stumbled from one unsuccessful online-music strategy to another, most recently through a partnership with RealNetworks' also-ran music site, Rhapsody. Why doesn't Best Buy just ask Steve Jobs for more iPods to sell? That seems easier.