2. A LeapFrog in Our ThroatLeave it to a learning technology company to teach us something new about communicating on Wall Street. We're talking about LeapFrog Enterprises ( LF), developer of the LeapPad -- which, depending on your point of view, is either a revolutionary educational toy or simply the latest fad in the history of gadgets marketed to parents seeking a stealthy way to make their kids smarter. Things got particularly gloomy at LeapFrog this week. Both a director and the company's chief operating officer resigned. The company announced layoffs of 180 employees. And it reported much-worse-than-expected fourth-quarter results. Shares in LeapFrog, which traded as high as $47.30 in late 2003 but has dropped like a stone in a pond since then, were trading at $10.76 Thursday, down 14 cents. But what cheered us up was the explanation that LeapFrog CEO Tom Kalinske gave for part of the disappointment. LeapFrog was hurt not only by operational issues and increased operating costs, he said, but also "by an industrywide lack of retailer reorders around the critical Thanksgiving period."
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No princely sales for this LeapFrog