Is SunnComm a sham or the next, big DRM success?
From hell to hell and maybe heaven
Think of me as Santa Claus
Nothing presented to Jacobs during our multi-hour interviews came as a shock. SunnComm maintains that it's well aware of these investor complaints. Company executives would show up to meetings with the likes of BMG and often find glossy packages outlining the aforementioned gripes about SunnComm waiting for them, Jacobs said.
"I will disavow normalcy at every step of the way here," Jacobs said. "The first three years were like hell in the market."
To this day, Jacobs believes that that vast majority of large SunnComm shareholders have only benefitted from his actions, unorthodox as they might seem. He accused the angry mob of Internet posters as trying to short SunnComm's stock and take the company down for any number of reasons.
"What these people have done is gone from witnessing a traffic accident to causing a traffic accident," Jacobs said. "These people are not vested shareholders in the company, and they don't like how long it takes for a company to go away."
"I agree that much of the stuff could be read two ways," counters one of the SunnComm haters. "I think there are just too many incidents in their short history to put it all down to just bad management."
That said, most of those against SunnComm are primarily angered by the company's inability to get its DRM business moving. It has been promising major deals with labels for years.
Over this past year, SunnComm's DRM technology was found on the number one album in the US - the BMG produced Velvet Revolver release. Industry sources interviewed by The Register say it's very likely that 2005 will see every single release sold by BMG ship with SunnComm's technology. Jacobs also hints at a similar deal with another major label.
Some insiders within the industry say that SunnComm's DRM technology is far superior to that of MacroVision in that it allows for more customization into how many times a CD can be copied onto a PC or moved to a portable device.
Jacobs, who has a past running a successful Christmas tree farm in Oregon and was one of the first to sell prepaid phone cards in the US, is convinced that the next year will be a boon for SunnComm. He admits that DRM technology might not be the most attractive pursuit in consumers' eyes, but says there is no way to avoid it in this day and age.
After years of toiling, he expects SunnComm to end up owning the vast majority of Quiet Tiger and to have his fully-reporting dream fulfilled, which should please investors with Quiet Tiger appearing on a major exchange. This day will come when SunnComm can sign up the elusive "two majors" for its DRM software.
Jacobs comes off as a rare breed for a CEO. He came into a tough situation and admits many mistakes. All along, however, he believes SunnComm stuck to its vision and has just had a difficult time reaching its end goal.
Should SunnComm finally sign up a pair of major labels, then it would seem the company could be deemed a success. But until that happens, it will continue to be reamed across the Internet as a sham and a vacant shell of a business. ®
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