Friday, January 22, 2010

Microvision: Time to Act Not Just React

The entire financial future of Microvision depends on fast modulating green laser supply and its cost in large quantities. Microvision management has been dealing with this green laser issue for almost two and half years.

Just to refresh your memory, if you recall, the first working PicoP projector using Osram SHG green laser was demoed in June of 2007. After two and half years, we are still talking about possible further delays due to green lasers. That is frustrating in itself.

However, what’s more frustrating is that during three CES expos in a row [CES 2008, CES 2009 and CES 2010) there hasn’t been any significant improvement or enhancement to Microvision’s PicoP technology or image quality. We can discredit the PC Magazine review as flawed, biased, and nothing more than hogwash all day… but the fact remains, there is always some fire where there is smoke!

Three years in a row Microvision has been burning bucket loads of cash… but demoed the same product [now called SHOWwx] at the CES 2008, CES 2009, and CES 2010. Even the analyst community and the media has picked-up on that. Why there was no effort to use the available time and resources to develop additional applications using PicoP display technology and derivatives of SHOWwx?

It takes a little while, but eventually this thing about secrets and supply chain partner delays doesn’t “cut the mustard” with the investor community. Microvision stock (MVIS) is in a free fall. It has been falling every day ever since CEO Alex Tokman posted his in-house interview at The Displayground website on January 7th, 2010… the same day CES 2010 expo opened.

It is very frustrating.

You can define frustration in many ways… but what’s been going-on at Microvision gives “frustration” a new meaning altogether.

We can add one more definition to the word frustration... waiting for definitive plans from Microvision while being told that the management will disclose them by CES 2008… then by 2009… and then by CES 2010.

How dare we worry about where our investment dollars are going when it's such a small part of the big picture of: “the holly grail of embedded PicoP projectors in the billion unit mobile world?” What frustrated me on January 7th, after listening to the CEO interview, was another set of delays and possible issues. It sounded like, and resonated with those in the industry that have been saying for years why a high speed modulating laser based PicoP will fail because of pricing and supply issue. I’m sure Microvision brass has the answers, and has its reasons for keeping quite on the issue, but can somebody please throw some light on the green laser availability, pricing and stability issues as they affect the success of laser based PicoP projectors.

Here’re some more thoughts on frustration…

• Having the wool pulled over our eyes is frustrating;
• Waiting for concrete answers is frustrating;
• Having legitimate concerns brushed aside is frustrating;
• Being told to take the pain and ignore the small stuff is frustrating;
• Watching the stock price crash and then drift lower and lower is frustrating, too.

There is enough dry powder on the sidelines to send this market [and MVIS stock price] significantly higher, even into the plus column for the year. But, would-be buyers continue to be stymied as each day brings more questions rather than answers and we keep hearing how off base our concerns are. While panic has become the permanent aroma that greets investors each day, I sense frustration could be moving the Microvision stock price more than any other feeling these days, and certainly today.

I have received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls and I know that many folks just want to throw-in the towel out of frustration and a lack of confidence in the management of Microvision. Day to day it's hard to see where it will end, but I think we are going to be fine and at the end of the day the MVIS investor will come out whole.

Just frustrated!

Anant Goel