Alternative operating system developer Be appears to be pulling away from the brink of oblivion, if its second quarter results, posted this evening, are anything to go by. But it had better find some more paying customers, PDQ.
Revenues for the three months to 30 June totalled $715,000, up from the $142,000 it posted for the same period last year and the the $100,000 it posted after Q1 this year.
As Be puts it: "Revenues were primarily attributable to integration services performed for customers." For "customers" read 'customer' - Sony to be precise. Be doesn't break sales down by customer, but we reckon that's the sum the company made getting its BeIA OS to work with Sony's eVilla Internet appliance.
Be's loss shrank during the quarter, from last quarter's 14 cents a share to ten cents a share. This time last year, its loss amounted to 13 cents a share.
This quarter Be took a $143,000 restructuring charge hit. During Q1 it had an extra expense of $307,000 for the same reason. The restructuring programme saw 27 staff - primarily in sales and admin - laid off.
Indeed, Be's marketing spend fell from nearly $1.9 million during Q1 to just $557,000, reflecting its shift from the consumer-oriented BeOS to the vendor-targetted BeIA.
And vendor targetting is what Be has to do rather a lot of now. Unless it manages to get itself sold to Sony, its eVilla revenue stream isn't going to last, and unless the company finds a replacement, its revenues will fall right back to Q1 levels. Worse, probably, since the bulk of Q1 sales came from BeOS shipments, and they must surely have all but dried up now.
A sale to Sony isn't as daft as it might sound - certainly a merger or takeover is something Be has been forced to consider as it struggles to maintain "shareholder value". Ideally, it can find someone - Sony again? - to invest in the company and keep it going, but from the company's tone, a sale seems the most likely option.
Alas, since the much-touted Internet appliance market has singularly failed to materialise - pace eVilla - and with PC sales shrinking under the effects of economic recession, Be's chances don't look good. A shame, that, since the it does have some impressive technology in its labs. But it's looking increasingly unlikely to ever be seen outside of them. ®