It seems like these are tough times for anybody with ties to the PC computer market. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) -- all sit uncomfortably close to their 52-week lows. Heck, even Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) have lost some of that mo-mo group love.

And then you have the case of Phoenix Technologies (NASDAQ:PTEC), which announced disappointing guidance on Wednesday. For those not overly familiar, Phoenix has long focused on what you might call core computer software -- it's the leading supplier of BIOS software to computer makers and has been trying to branch out into other applications like network security and backup/recovery.

Judging by the size of the miss, Phoenix is in deep kimchi. Revenue for this quarter is now expected to be in the range of $10 million to $12 million -- far, far lower than prior guidance of $24.5 million to $26.5 million, the $24.6 million analyst consensaguess, and the $23.7 million year-ago level. And as you might suspect from a company whose problems have resulted in several earnings misses and the resignation of both the CFO and CEO, the company is looking to cut costs and restructure.

Phoenix's faults are split between matters out of its control and strategic missteps. It's frankly not the company's fault that Microsoft delayed the Vista launch and that PC inventories are stacking up. It is, however, Phoenix's fault that fully paid-up licensing hurt results. This is basically an "all-you-can-eat" type of licensing option that grew to 60% of total revenue this quarter. In a business that can only work by charging a small amount of money for a huge number of installations, that's not good.

I honestly don't know whether Phoenix can rise from the ashes. The core BIOS business isn't much of a grower, and I'm uncertain that network security is really an option with growth potential. By the same token, a troubled business with a valuable core asset (which I think its BIOS business is) may still have value to other companies or private equity investors.

In the meantime, consider the ramifications of Phoenix Tech's message. Maybe its problems are company-specific and maybe it's just losing share, but maybe this is further proof that the PC market is in a tough state.

For related Foolishness:

Microsoft, Intel, and Dell are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations, and Dell is also a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).