I can't help thinking that Openwave (Nasdaq: OPWV ) is racing toward the edge of the cliff, and management knows it. Take Thursday's earnings report, for example -- companies with bad news to report sometimes try to drown the numbers in a sea of unrelated, snappy-sounding press releases, like Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW ) did last October. Openwave couldn't even come up with that, and the biggest news of the day was a new name for the CFO position.
The results had to be reported, though, and it wasn't pretty at all. Back out a $17 million restructuring charge, and turn a blind eye to the $54.8 million net losses at the held-for-sale Musiwave division (on $7.5 million in segment revenue -- who would buy this value destroyer?), and you're still looking at nearly $20 million of red ink from continuing operations.
Mobile browsers have become commodities rather than the luxury items Openwave needs them to be. Every major browser platform is available in a slimmed-down mobile version now, including offerings from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) , the open-source Mozilla/Firefox project, and Norwegian developer Opera Software ASA (OTC BB: OPESF.PK). The time when Openwave's products were Rule Breaking is long past, and I don't see how the company plans to adjust, reform, and relaunch into some other, more promising boutique software area.
Activist investment firm Harbinger Capital Partners seem to agree. The company has dropped its legal claims for Openwave board seats, liquidated its 9.6% ownership in the company, and moved on to greener pastures. Good move, too.
Openwave is still a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation, warts and all. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. You can check out either service absolutely free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure will be there for you, like you want it to -- and you'll squeeze it tight, baby, all through the night.