Getting a deal with Google
Well, on Tuesday LexarMedia
Lexar develops flash memory products, such as USB flash drives, card readers, and so on (such things are important for consumer products such as digital cameras, as well as industrial applications). The company's technology is strong -- with more than 92 patents -- and has attracted customers such as SanDisk
Basically, Lexar will provide some Google services -- such as Picasa, Google Toolbar, and Google Desktop Search -- on its USB flash drives. It means that users can quickly install these applications on their computers.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although it looks more like good PR and not much of a revenue generator. After all, millions of users have already accessed Google services from the Web -- for free. Sure, this will open a new channel for Google's services, and perhaps drive some incremental sales of Lexar products. But the question remains, will there really be much demand for a hardware approach? That said, it's certainly a smart deal for Google. Basically, it further enhances its brand (perhaps at no cost).
For Lexar, the focus should be on the core business. And there is certainly good news. In the third quarter, revenues increased 15% to $189.4 million. Net income was $2.4 million, which was up from a $3.5 million net loss in the same period a year ago. In all, the company has $157 million in the bank.
What's more, the company expects to post $220 million in revenues for the fourth quarter and to generate a net profit.
However, Lexar's stock is prone to much volatility. Enforcing the patent portfolio is critical to Lexar's business strategy. And the company has been embroiled in a major court fight with Toshiba.
Despite Lexar being awarded $465.4 million, the Santa Clara County Superior Court actually ordered a new trial. Also, Toshiba has filed an appeal. The case has been going on since 2002, and it's really a gamble to know what direction it ultimately will go, in turn injecting some degree of uncertainty into the company's relative safety moving forward.
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Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares mentioned in this article.