Openwave Closes the Door on 12% of Staff

Mobile software maker Openwave Systems Thursday said it will fire 180 people or 12 percent of its staff as part of a company-wide restructuring.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based firm said the positions supported an undisclosed development and porting project, which has been contributing approximately $5 million a quarter in project revenue. The company said the majority of the development and porting for the project is complete and the focus will now shift to sales and marketing.

“We continue to be cautiously optimistic about operators’ increased focus on mobile data and services that create a differentiated experience,” Openwave president and CEO Don Listwin said in a statement.

To that end, the company said the reduction would lower its quarterly expenses by approximately $10 million within the next two to three quarters, beginning next quarter.

“We believe these cost reductions along with our go to market strategy with partners and our strong product and services portfolio will allow us to achieve our financial and operating goals,” Listwin said.

Openwave’s Mobile Browser is one of the most prevalent Web navigation applications for Internet-enabled phones. The company also makes multimedia messaging software (MMS), e-mail, location and mobile gateways. The company actually helped develop much of the technology behind the wireless application protocol (WAP) standard.

The company has been showing many of its cards as of late. Openwave last week expanded its Developer Network to include several companies such as Autodesk, Cellmania, Digital Bridges, End2End, Funmail, Infospace, Infusio, Mforma, Microsoft, Motorola, and Webraska. But, Openwave has been losing market share to either proprietary Web browsers or upstarts like Wakefield, Mass.-based Comverse. Compared to more than 85 customers named at this time last year, Openwave now only boasts upwards of 70 clients made up primarily of 45 handset manufacturers and 22 broadband suppliers.

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