Openwave today formed a committee to consider a possible sale of the company and also announced its CEO is stepping down. David Peterschmidt will be replaced by Robert Vrij, previously the executive VP of worldwide field operations. Peterschmidt will continue to serve on the board of directors and will also chair the committee that that's trying to resuscitate the the company. News of his involvement on the committee wasn't well received in all quarters. Harbinger Capital Partners, Openwave's second-biggest shareholder, publicly objected on the grounds the Peterschmidt received only a 42-per cent vote of confidence in a recent shareholder election. Investors weren't sure what to make of the day's news. Shares initially rose but ultimately fell 2.1 per cent. Openwave, the world leader in mobile phone browsers, will retain Merrill Lynch to advise it on a sale, or otherwise find a way to prop up its sagging stock, which has lost more than half its value in the last year. Today's action comes as a response to Openwave shareholders electing a board candidate put up by Harbinger — which owns about 10 per cent of the company's shares — instead of the company's own nominee. Harbinger has been critical of Openwave, alleging its management has been misleading investors. But Openwave failed to pacify New York-based Harbinger. "By appointing Peterschmidt to chair this committee, the board has put its interests and that of the senior management above those of shareholders and the company," Harbinger Managing Director Howard Kagan said. In February, Openwave acquired WiderWeb, a small UK software developer. The acquisition provided Openwave with software that can re-format web content for mobile phones in a compressed XHTML/MP format, opening access to the internet on mass market mobile devices. ®
Shoretel has integrated its IP phone system with Salesforce.com's call centre software. Using the two together will mean call centre agents get a reduced admin workload, with automatic call logging and screen pop-ups with the customer's record, Shoretel claimed.
Beer is as old as civilization. Civilization as we care to remember it, anyway. It was mankind's first stride into biotechnology. It helped push nomadic tribes into agriculture. It founded nations. It got Charlie Bamforth a job. Bamforth, a PhD, DSc, chair of the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California and Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences likes his beer, as the title suggests. Thursday evening Bamforth discussed the glory of brewing science at Xerox PARC as a part of a five-part series of the science of food. Beer is good for you, according to Bamforth, and who are we to argue? It is a rich source of B vitamins which play an important role in cell metabolism. Studies about wine (drunk in moderation) increasing a person's health merely involves the alcohol intake and therefore is exactly the same for its frothy cousin. "A study showed that people who bought wine at a grocery store also bought things like tofu and low fat yogurt and lettuce leaves," said Bamforth. "People who bought beer bought things like burgers, minced beef and cigarettes. Now just imagine how unhealthy they would be if they didn't drink beer." UC Davis apparently shares Bamforth's love for the beer science. His "Introduction to Beer and Brewing" course is the third most popular class on campus. Who knew there were so many would-be biochemists out there? (The most popular class at the university is about sex. The professor of brussel sprouts and early morning jogs could not be reached for comment.) Good beer production is long and difficult. It involves soaking malt barley, boiling the solution with hops, cooling and fermenting with yeast and the release of Co2 and ethyl alcohol. For the layman, it it goes something this: C6H12O6 --> 2C2H5OH + 2CO2 = Deeeebby! Deeeeeebby!! I broke a window for you Debby!! The key to beer-making is consistency. While wine connoisseurs worry about vintage, grape harvests, aging and sniff at corks, the best batch of beer is one that tastes exactly like the last one. Because beer doesn't age well, getting a consistent taste is a major problem for importers. That means your la-di-da foreign brew is probably suffering from fatigue by the time it gets to your fridge. The best time to drink a beer is immediately after it's been bottled. The most important fact about beer science is that it's one of the few food-groups that doesn't lose its appeal after you learn too much about it. There's nothing like a visit to the local slaughterhouse or meditation on pickled cucumber factories using outdoor brine tanks with no lids to ruin a perfectly good deli sandwich. Sure, brewers use something called "starchy endosperm" to make your beer; that's smalltime. Shrug it off. Have a beer or something. ®
Genevieve Bell has a message for technologists who espouse the self-serving view that the more cell phone, laptops and other gizmos we integrate into our life the happier we'll be: people often get fed up. That notion may be obvious to anyone who has experienced the simultaneous, and seemingly unending, flow of instant messages, emails and ringing phones, all proclaiming to be urgent. But you generally won't hear it from the companies who are trying to force their hardware and software down our throats.