The challenges facing FinePoint, getting profitable

In an article in the ArizonaRepublic, Bob Briton, CEO of InPlay / FinePoint, talks about the challenges of going head to head with entrenched pen-computing / digitizer  Wacom.

According to the article, InPlay has faced an uphill battle since their founding in 1999, but are making headway in the digitizer space with their 2005 acquisition of FinePoint and subsequent relationship with Gateway. Their challenge is in getting the message out about the FinePoint product.


From ArizonaRepublic:

In 2005, the company’s name was changed to InPlay Technologies, and it took on a dual focus when it acquired FinePoint, which manufactures and markets its digital pen-computing devices to computermakers under the brand name MagicPoint.

FinePoint accounts for the largest portion of InPlay’s sales.


In the pen-computing market, InPlay competes with Wacom, an international firm that supplies its products to the majority of computer manufacturers.


“They’re just the 800-pound gorilla,” said Conrad Blickenstorfer, editor in chief of online magazine, which tracks to the tablet PC market.

FinePoint, whose biggest customer is Gateway Inc., generated $2.9 million in revenue during InPlay’s fiscal 2006 third quarter, the most recent information available. That compares with just $203,631 in revenue from Duraswitch.

“The challenge for FinePoint and InPlay Technologies is that they are going against an extremely established market leader in Wacom,” Blickenstorfer said. “It’s an incredible challenge, even if their technology is better . . . it’s going to be an uphill battle and it will require superb marketing.”

“That doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance. It just means that they have to find a way to (promote) their superior technology through their Web site, word-of-mouth marketing, viral marketing, the whole thing.”