Less than two months ago, Liquidmetal took a U-turn by deciding to close or sell Liquidmetal Golf, a retail subsidiary that sold $595 drivers and accounted for 62 percent of total revenues in 2000. The money-losing unit left the company with a net loss and substantial debt.
There are other issues. The company has no experience in manufacturing. The process of identifying potential customers, convincing them to try Liquidmetal's alloy, creating a prototype, and setting up a production line will take time and lots of money. Potential competitors are working to create similarly tough alloys. And Liquidmetal's signature product - a mix of zirconium, titanium, copper, nickel and beryllium - is far more expensive than steel or titanium.
Moreover, Liquidmetal said it has plenty of other markets to exploit. Last month, for example, it signed a two-year deal to create tougher-than-plastic cell phone casings for Samsung at Liquidmetal's new South Korea plant. Similar casings could be made for PDAs and other personal technologies, as well.