PHCM in depth analysis
I sure hope this doesn't become too long or boring, but one thing is for sure this is
going to have plenty of facts and relevant info. I thought this would be more technical,
but it ended in my quest of searching for the real fundamentals and finding out if this
really was a good company, if their strategy is sound, competitors, how their technology
competes and will evolve, and then formed my conclusion on the direction this will
I begin with some brief technicals confirming that the stock is gathering strength again,
and then comes the real stuff. The analysis of fundamentals.
15.5% of PHCM is held by institutions, this consists of an average part of the float, this
tells me that a cash influx from institutions hasn't taken place yet (ie in QCOM
institution hold more than 55%). I think it is positive that some of the insiders filed to sell
as this has increased the float, which was very small. As to technicals the stock closed
above the 13 and 50 day moving averages today, confirming that the downtrend is
broken. MACD histogram heading to centerline, MACD leveling out. This indicates that
we won't see a big breakout on this cycle up, but this will set the stage for a MACD
crossover near the centerline which will be the real breakout, which I see in
approximately 1-2 weaks, depends when stochastic reaches oversold or close to
oversold again. The correction has brought this stock to a great price, it not so
overvalued now, the drop as we all now was due to the insiders selling off and is not
grave. This last rise has been set in rising volume which might indicate the break out
coming sooner than expected (maybe on this cycle). Indicators are indeed turning
bullish across the board for PHCM.
On the general side I have to claim that the more I read up on PHCM the more I like the
company. If I have ever invested in a company and not a stock, this is it. I AM investing
in PHCM because it is a great company with a great future, and very strong rigid
management, well established in an area which will boom in the near future and is
already making its entry as one of the future trends. I am bullish all the way for PHCM.
I believe the oldest article I use is from around December 21, while most are from
around the 28-30 December so this is current. and there are some from the last 2 days
(Mon, Tue), I'll say again that I'm sorry not to provide the links, etc. for the stories, but I
am completely overwhelmed by the volume of information I have dealt with when
compiling this analysis.
Here is a brief description of what PHCM does for any newbies to this stock.
It's the Holy Grail of the business world-a compact, pocket-size phone that handles
e-mail, serves as a personal organizer, and lets you "microbrowse" the Web. This year
you can buy one from Nokia and others. While the Web access is text-based and
primitive, it works because of a spec called WAP (Wireless Application Protocol).
This standard is compatible with every operating system and major wireless network
and is backed by all portable phone manufacturers, from Microsoft to IBM to Intel to
Palm. Created by Phone.com (the former Unwired Planet) along with Ericsson,
Motorola, and Nokia, WAP has already become a platform for other standards like
AirFlash, which automatically delivers location-based travel information.
Here are some facts and estimates for the market in which PHCM has established
From 3 different estimates I have seen the lower estimate is that there are 1.7 million
users in the wireless data market currently, while the higher estimate puts that number
at 3 million. So the current customer base for the wireless data industry seems to be
between 1.7 to 3 million users IN THE U.S. The estimates for 2003 are the following,
the lower estimate calculates 25 million subscribers, and the higher one estimates 80
million subscribers by the year 2003 IN THE U.S. alone. The mean estimate for current
subscribers from the data I compiled is 2.35 million, and for 2003 the mean estimate is
that there will be 47 million subscribers to wireless data services. So from this data I
conclude that PHCM is in the right market for great sustained growth, the estimated
growth rate for PHCM in the previous quarter (1999 fiscal 3rd quarter) was 16%, while it
looks like the sector will grow an astonishing 20000% by the year 2003 (2.35 million to
47 million). And since PHCM has a virtual monopoly on "smart" phone browsers, it
would be fair to say that PHCM revenue might increase 10000 to 17500% in the span
of the next 3 to 4 years. In the final section I will explain why I think that PHCM will endure
to this challenge. So since PHCM's last revenue figure is 14.3 million, that up 10000%
is in the order of around 150 million, and with 17500% it is in the order of above 250
million US$. Not nearly as much as MSFT but you can imagine that as the company
gets bigger it will expand into other areas, something which is already being done, ie
the acquisition of AtMotion leader in internet voice portal technology.
As to PHCM's management and strategy I see a company that is being well led by a
management with a clear perception of where they are going and what their goals are,
and a staff which lacks no initiative, which is that vital component to prosper in such a
quickly evolving industry. The management seems to be taking the right path and is very
effective, bold and their plan is very good and sound on the matters of getting their
product out. The recent acquisitions confirm the clear focus of growth and aggressive
pursuit of opportunities of the management. The acquisition of AtMotion is what I
consider PHCM's best move as of yet, I can't believe that big money investors
haven't jumped right into a company which is doing so much right. By acquiring
AtMotion PHCM not only eliminated a rival, but made itself stronger and began a bit of
diversification to exploit more the opportunities which they have opened. Together with
AtMotion's voice portal technology PHCM's product will be enhanced and expanded.
The following paragraph extracted from an article gives precisely the points of the
strategy which I wanted to mention so there is no need for me to mention them.
"Rather than bow before the cellular and software giants, Phone.com's strategy has
been to position itself as the Switzerland of wireless solutions. Allied to no one, it has
been able to nimbly parlay that neutrality into deals with 25 different phone
manufacturers and 33 carriers, including heavy-hitters Alcatel, Motorola, Qualcomm,
Nokia, and Sony. In contrast, few, it seems, are rushing to buy Nokia's proprietary WAP
browser technology, which was released just last summer. "If you were a manufacturer,
would you want to be dependent on your biggest competitor for a piece of software?"
asks Ben Linder, Phone.com's vice president of marketing. "I don't think so." "
The only thing that really worries me managementwise is that PHCM doesn't seem to
be very concerned about profits right now, just on getting their product marketed, and
expanding. Of course not worrying about profits in the long term is not a viable strategy,
as no investors are poised to go into a company which doesn't make money, but I
think the company is concentrating in the right area for now, expanding and then racking
up the profits, but for now they have to keep setting their base in this market before
more competitors join in. To clear my profit questions I will email PHCM management
and will keep everyone posted on the response. They are a sizable company by now
have recently hired a new CFO which means that now they are focusing in the right
directions. Some assuring words which I found from the management about PHCM's
course are the following:
Linder insists Phone.com is relatively unconcerned about how the platform market will
mutate because its WAP browser is designed to sit atop any compatible handheld
operating system, much the way Netscape's browser works on both Windows and Mac
operating systems. "In the future we hope to integrate streaming audio and video
capabilities into future versions [of the WAP browser]," insists Linder. "The point of
WAP is to bring the Internet to mass-market phones."
As to PHCM's product, the browser, now that I have looked for the facts I see that they
have some up with an outstanding and long visioned product. The product is incredibly
versatile and very well designed, and what does the consumer love more than that.
From customizing to any phone OS to fitting nicely on any size screen, this browser
seems to have everything thought out. I haven't personally seen it, and since I live in
Venezuela (really) I probably won't see it for some time to come since technology
takes ages to reach these latitudes, but from what I have read the programming is
excellent. The only possible fault is that web pages have to be converted to WML to be
displayed and each site seems to have to do it on its own, but this seems to be solved
by an easy conversion tool designed by oracle which converts the HTML into WML, so
that is solved. I also heard of mass conversion, in the order of 300 companies making
their page available in WML. The following extracts say everything that I would like to
say about the product.
Phone.com's WAP browser has proven popular for a couple of other reasons. First of
all, it has a relatively small "footprint," industry parlance for the amount of power and
computing capacity it requires. Proponents maintain that the WAP language, WML,
which was developed by the four original members of the WAP Forum, is better than
Web-based HTML at delivering content over a wireless network. Among the significant
WAP innovations is that content is delivered as a series of layered screens, much like a
deck of cards. If more in-depth information is required, the user clicks down through the
"cards," rather than having to return to the Web each time through the cellular
connection. Having a whole stack of cards downloaded to the phone at once speeds up
the process of using a particular application enormously. The smaller, interlinked cards
are also a more effective way of viewing information on a postage-stamp screen since
they don't require any scrolling.
Applications written in WML will render on any device that is WAP-compliant,
proponents of the protocol maintain. If one device is able to display more lines of text
than another, the microbrowser will render the extra lines automatically. WAP will also
work with a variety of input devices, including a phone keypad or a voice-activation
system. Finally, it is flexible enough to sit atop a variety of operating systems, from the
simple systems currently found in cell phones to more powerful and complex operating
systems such as Palm O/S, Windows CE, and the forthcoming EPOC operating
system now being developed by Symbian.
Phone.com's Linder counters that subsequent generations of its WAP browser will
become beefier, accommodating audio and video as well as text downloads, as the
On the other side of the PHCM product line is the developer site, a site with all the tools
needed to create pages/products compatible with WAP which was created by an
alliance of PHCM, ERICY, NOK, and MOT. The company (PHCM) seems to also own
the licenses for this technology¡damn.. the quality of my writing is slowly eroding..sorry
about this, I'm just getting a bit tired (already 5 AM). In the center of this whole developer
program is a web of alliances which PHCM has created. This seems to be a clear
indication of PHCM's leadership in this area, since everyone jumped into their
technology and use the tools provided by PHCM to work. The following extracts depict
the magnitude of the developer and alliance program which is led by PHCM. It begins
by depicting the beginning of WAP and then goes on to give an overview of what is
currently going on with the developer/alliance programs.
Not only did the tiny company (30 employees at the time) convince phone giants Nokia,
Ericsson, and Motorola that they were better off working together to create one unified
standard, known as WAP (wireless application protocol, see dictionary, but
approximately 180 other companies have since scrambled aboard the Wireless
Application Protocol Forum bandwagon.
WAP Developer Program Growth Explodes More Than 300% in Six Months to Exceed
This spike in growth points toward the projection that the market for the convergence of
the Internet and the wireless phone is one of the fastest growing in global technology.
Similarly, the company reported that the Phone.com Alliance Program has seen a 78%
jump in membership during the same time period
The resources available to developers in the Program include the Phone.com
Developer Web Site, a Software Developer's Kit (UP.SDK(TM)), access to
UP.Link(TM) to emulate provisioning, and the Phone.com Developer Forum, where
developers can exchange ideas and receive technical expertise from the Phone.com
technical support team
The community of global Phone.com developers relies on the Phone.com Developer
Web Site as its clearinghouse for information on how to create Internet and intranet
services and applications for WAP-enabled wireless phones. The site provides tools
and services for WAP developers to create powerful wireless applications
The next part just reflects all the positive sentiment I've encountered on PHCM during
my research, and I am impressed I have not found a single article which attacks PHCM.
These are positive comments by some institutions on PHCM.
Janus Venture Fund comments on PHCM
In the recent Winter 1999 Janus Funds report, in the Janus Venture Fund section, I saw
some positive comments on Phone.com. "¡an example is software developer
Phone.com, one of our biggest winners during the period. Phone.com's software
connects wireless phone subscribers to the Internet, offering them mobile access to
applications as diverse as e-mail or directions to the nearest McDonald's. Cell phone
manufacturers have embraced Phone.com's solution; as a result, Phone.com is
designed into over 90% of the Internet-enabled handsets that will reach the market over
the next year. As demand for mobile Internet access increases, Phone.com should
Positive talk on PHCM -
stated on TSC-"Banc of America's McKechnie likes to call Phone.com the "Netscape
of the wireless Internet -- with a much better business plan."
I want to put the story on PHCM acquiring AtMotion which I discussed earlier. I will also
post below that the story on PHCM's deal with Bell Mobility Canada which is another
indicator of PHCM's growth path. This deal will give PHCM the long arm in Canadian
Wireless Communications it seems.
Phone.com to Integrate @Motion's Internet Voice Portal Technology With Its MyPhone
Service Creating the First Portal With WAP, SMS and Voice Access This acquisition is
in line with Phone.com's strategy to create the leading platform for the delivery of
Internet services to mobile phones. "The @Motion acquisition is important because it
demonstrates our commitment to offer new and innovative technologies that enable our
customers to increase their per subscriber revenues while strengthening subscriber
loyalty," said Alan Black, Phone.com's chief financial officer
Phone.com's relationships give the company access to "over one-third of the world's
Bell Mobility Canada and Phone.com, Inc., (Nasdaq: PHCM - news) announced today
that Bell Mobility's PCS Mobile Browser Internet service will be enhanced with the
addition of new handsets in the first quarter of 2000. The addition of Nokia, Samsung,
Motorola Startac and Neopoint handsets will increase the variety of models available
with minibrowser capabilities. Bell Mobility currently offers instant access to Internet
services including email, mobile banking, directories, and a variety of entertainment
services to subscribers via the PCS Mobile Browser service.
In the following section I will analyze some of PHCM's competitors.
The NOK SPY alliance (seemingly the only big competitors) seems to be very
vulnerable and weak and will get crushed by PHCM as they don't have a sizable share
of the market and their technology simply hasn't caught on. This is a nice excerpt on
the Spyglass NOK alliance.
In my opinion, Spyglass which is just adapting Nokia's WAP and given that Nokia
competes directly with other cell-phone manufacturers, will have limited acceptability
and hence upside potential.
Spyglass may be undervalued but for good reason. That is similar to the argument that
the undervalued companies are generally the ones that do not have much potential
relative to their "over-valued" competitors. Hence their undervaluation.
Competitor Avantgo doesn't seem to be much of a worry as they are going to enter
too late into the market, and PHCM is just looking very commanding already. MSFT
seems to be about to launch a Linux play in the wireless market with its own browser
(bummer) although as stated MSFT is not liked by wireless companies and PHCM's
browser still has the advantage of already being implemented and effective. As to the
mention of XMA, I haven't been able to zoom in on what company is supposedly
The following excerpts touch on most of the competitors
Besides the big phone companies, Phone.com faces competition from many sides.
Companies such as San Mateo, Calif.-based AvantGo, which has its own
microbrowser technology but so far has focused on becoming the leader in delivering
Web content to PalmPilots and Windows CE devices, is expected to announce
wireless phone strategies in the near future. A company called @Motion, backed by
Deutsche Telekom and Intel, is among the leaders in developing a voice-activated
And then there's Microsoft. The company will soon toss the dice with its own
HTML-based microbrowser. Though it has said that it will give away the source code so
that developers can adapt it to various platforms
Phone.com's Linder says he doesn't see the Redmond, Wash., software giant as much
of a threat, however. "Most phone manufacturers don't have a friendly relationship with
Microsoft," he says. "They are a bit wary and they like to control their own destiny."
On the content side, unlike delivery systems such as AvantGo's, which can bring
information from the Web to handheld devices using the existing HTML format,
information delivered to WAP devices must first be rewritten in WML.
Oracle's Project Panama software (now in development) claims to resolve this issue by
"automatically" translating HTML content into WML content. Eventually, predicts Jacob
Christfort, director of Oracle's mobile and embedded products division, content
providers will switch to the next generation of markup language, XML (see "Deus X
Machina," p92), which can then be converted into both HTML for Web browsing and
WML for phone browsing. "We expect them to use our HTML conversion less and less
as time goes on, and simply publish in XML right off the bat," he says.
When you consider how QCOM has grown this is very comparable to the case of
I believe that PHCM is like QCOM but better than QCOM. PHCM has a better grip on
its market and is much stronger set with its WAP than QCOM is set with CDMA, but the
growth that CDMA experienced is what I think the growth we see PHCM's technologies
will be like but stronger. PHCM has made the case that it is here to stay, if not they
would not have gone IPO and shaken up the management a bit. Even more positive the
area in which PHCM is venturing has seen plenty of trial already, as shown by the Palm
Pilot excerpt below. The small scale (handheld) data sector is already considerably
tried and PHCM will have the experiences of other to ensure they don't do them again.
The sector sure has tremendous future potential as shown earlier, and whoever gets in
with a strong product (ie PHCM) will cash in. It is time you guys make your own
conclusions, I provided plenty of material and my opinion, I would sure like to he