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Em@iler set to make a profit

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Amserve - the business behind Amstrad's em@iler phone-cum-email device - should make a profit during the financial year, the company said in a statement today.

Publishing results for the year ended 30 June, Amstrad explained that it had sold 130,000 em@ilers during the last year bringing the total number of devices to more than 250,000.

Although the cost of flogging em@iler hardware is subsidised, the company makes up the cash by charging punters for sending and receiving emails. It also charges them for a number of other services, including SMS, e-greetings cards and downloading old Sinclair Spectrum games.

And it claims that ad revenue is looking up, with the likes of AOL and O2 flogging their services on the little telephone machines.

All told, Amserve reported that in June it generated around £18,000 a day in revenue from the service. If that carries on for a full year then it can expect to cash in more than £6 million in revenue over the coming year.

"We expect that the Amserve business should turn into profit in this current financial year despite our continued policy of subsidising the sale of units to increase the installed base," the company said.

Which all sounds fine and dandy, if only the em@iler wasn't such a turkey.

Pre-tax profits at Amstrad were up during the year £9.9 million compared to £4.2 million in 2002 even though sales were down slightly (£34.4 million) on last year (£35.4 million). ®

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