TASER international NASDAQ (TASR) is a provider of non-lethal electro-shock guns in the United States. TASER is the leader in electro-shock guns and continues to be the most popular brand. TASER’s devices are used worldwide by a multitude of consumers for different markets and uses, including the military, police forces, professional security and personal protection. TASER Electronic Control Devices (ECD) are used to incapacitate dangerous and high-risk individuals and is generally seen as a safer alternative to other methods of force. TASER products are aimed at preventing violent confrontations and diffusing situations without deadly force. TASER’s products are motivated by innovation and safety.
TASER’s first product was launched in 1993, the AIR TASER model 34000. The same year the company is incorporated in the state of Arizona as AIR TASER. In 1999 several police forces issue for the first time TASER International’s ECDs. Two years later TASER files an IPO and begins to be publicly traded on the NASDAQ. .
TASER solutions have proven to deliver results for those who have deployed their products. According to 275 field studies TASER products have proven to be the safer alternative than other responses to resistance. . In addition, TASER has developed software and hardware solutions that offer customers the ability to capture, manage, store, and analyze digital evidence.  TASER ECDs and AXON on-officer video have a measured positive effect by achieving compliance without escalation of force. TASER has training programs to inform consumers of the uses of TASER products and how to use them. The program also highlights force options and decision-making, medical issues, and maintenance amongst other topics. 
Central to TASER’s strategy is the research and development conducted to enhance existing products and services. Through innovation TASER is able to deliver high value solutions to meet customer needs and drive growth. TASER’s products are distributed primarily in North America; however focus is being placed on expanding in the international and military markets. To facilitate sales in the European market TASER International Europe SE was developed in 2009. 
TASER’s mission statement is “To prevent conflict, protect life, and resolve disputes through technologies that make communities safer.” TASER is focused on the continuous development of technology and training programs, cultivating their relationships and services to police forces in North America, and broadening their presence in the international market. Reducing liability and increasing safety has continued to be the goal of TASER and newly introduced products are always aimed to achieve these demands.
TASER C2 The TASER C2 is designed for personal safety needs. This product is able to incapacitate individuals from 15 feet away. Its small size and light weight make it easy to carry. This product accounts for approx. $4.8 million in sales (6% of net sales)..
TASER X26C The TASER X26C gives an individual the same stopping force trusted by thousands of police officers each day. It fires two small probes 15 ft away. Also includes a laser sight. It is more powerful and more expensive than the TASER X26C. Product accounts for $5.9 million in sales (6% of net sales). 
CARTRIDGES TASER produces multiple cartridge types, including a 15’, 21’, 25’ and 35’ cartridge. These cartridges include Anti-Felon identification tags which identify the owners. Cartridges make up a large portion of sales for TASER. 
TASER X3 The TASER X3 is aptly named, as it can fire three shots (2 for backup). It has increase battery life and cold weather performance when compared to its personal safety counterparts. The charge diffusion probes dissipate to outer layers of skin away from the vital organs. 
EVIDENCE.COM EVIDENCE.COM is a virtual management system that allows management of evidence. Agencies and legal professionals quickly access more quickly and easier than ever before. Allows individuals to also access logs that recorded firing and pulse data. Accessible from anywhere in the world. 
AXON The AXON tactical computer combines audio-video recording capabilities, recording crucial aspects from the perspective of the officer. Includes an earpiece, imager, and microphone. This helps reduce the documentation workload while increasing accountability. 
TASER X12 Less Lethal Shotgun This device provides long distance capabilities. It is effective up to 100 ft. The X12 was modeled after a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. 
TASER Shockwave Area Denial Device This device is used for perimeter control, around doors or vehicles. It has a payload of 6 cartridges, capable of incapacitating multiple people. The system can be deployed on virtually any terrain. 
TASER defense programs These programs provide engineering services and focused research development. It utilizes advanced development, analysis, and testing tools to provide cutting edge engineering services. It is focused around technologies of electronic control and wearable AV capture. 
In the years 2005-2009 TASER saw immense growth in sales. However, in 2010 net sales decreased from $104 million in 2009 to $86 million. Much of this can be attributed to the declining economic environment, as states and local governments are finding it more and more difficult to keep funding for programs such as law enforcement similar to pre-recession levels. Many programs under the pressures of political forces have cut budgets considerably, making it less likely that a police force will overhaul their department with TASER technology. Research and Development declined from $20 million in 2009 to $11.4 million in 2010. This is attributed to TASER’s large scale investment in 2008 in EVIDENCE.COM and AXON. TASER is confident that these programs will turn out to be quite successful and their investments will pay off in future years. The TASER X26, the model used by police forces, made up a significant proportion of the sales by product line. It is the basic model and shows the importance of the law enforcement segment. It was also noted that sales internationally made up 21% of total sales, down from 22% the year before. In the future, TASER expects this percentage to climb as foreign countries more widely adopt TASER’s products. In the Sales, General and Administrative expenses $1 million was attributed to the cost of a single litigation settlement for an officer injury during an arrest. This exemplifies the type of costs TASER must deal with in terms of litigation. 
Legal Issues/Liabilities TASER products are used in confrontational situations in which the victim may suffer severe bodily harm or death. Legal action may be pursued to recover damages on the basis of wrongful death or injury. Although TASER carries product liability insurance the company incurs substantial legal expenses.  The outcomes of these trials are inherently uncertain, and the damages may exceed the coverage from insurance. Also, wrongful deaths result in negative publicity for the company. Some who argue that tasers are a misuse of police force can also bring about negative publicity. An example was during a Philadelphia Phillies game in May 2010 when a fan on the field was tasered and apprehended. Many media members criticized the organization claiming that the use of a taser was both dangerous and unnecessary for the situation. 
Regulation Items produced by TASER International are subject to regulation by the government. Due to the nature of these products they are subject to Federal firearms-related regulations applying to the sales and distribution of these devices. Efforts have been made in the past to change legislation in certain states that prevented the sales of TASER devices. many states have their own unique laws reagarding TASERs.
Budgetary and Political Constraints Many state budgets (which law enforcement agencies rely) are facing cutbacks as a result of the economic environment. Therefore agencies may be unable to purchase these products.
Timely Acceptance of TASER’s Offerings by Law Enforcement Customers The sales cycle of TASER products depends on an agencies speed of adopting the products. This can range from a couple weeks to several years. Substantial selling costs and significant effort is tied to these lengthier sales cycles. If the potential customer decides not to purchase the products/services, TASER has expended much resources and time for no revenue in return. Adverse publicity also adds to the sales cycle. 
Rapid Technological Change Technology shifts at amazing rates. TASER must continue to innovate and bring consumers the most advanced technology in the field. There also exist the risks of copyright infringement. If TASER is unable to stop the improper use of trademarks then the company is at risk of losing brand loyalty and revenues. The resolution of cases in this area may be of high uncertainty.
Component Shortages Components used in the making of TASER’s products may become unavailable or discontinued. This would halt/slow down operations and incur significant costs. The company may have to search for substitute products which may be more costly or less desirable. 
Rising Raw Material Costs Many products produced by TASER are petroleum-based, and petroleum is used in the transportation of products. High increases in oil cuts profit margins by increasing component costs. 
Security Challenges Maintaining the security of EVIDENCE.com is extremely important to TASER and its consumers. Hackers may develop viruses or malicious programs to gain access to the networks and data centers. Significant resources are dedicated to the prevention of attacks that may lead to information theft or destruction of data. 
TASER’s strengths lie in its ability to develop innovative and safe products. TASER continually seeks to make its product offerings as safe as possible, while emphasizing technological advantages to make situations that are seen as highly dangerous more easily diffused. Introducing new products and product enhancements creates a new demand and constant growth. By marketing a product that signifies community safety without the use of deadly force TASER is able to meet the demands of many consumers who look to avoid harmfully devastating situations and potential enormous financial liabilities. Through training programs TASER is able to reach not only law enforcement agencies but also consumers looking for their own personal protection. These programs are able to identify and soothe consumer’s apprehension or worries about TASER products, while also teaching consumer’s the basics of product safety and good decision-making. The end effect is less liability and greater positive response to harmful confrontations.
A weakness of TASER International has been its international presence. However, it has seen significant growth in this market as of recently, and this trend is expected to continue in the future. TASER is dedicated to turning this weakness into a strength by turning its focus to Europe, exemplified by the development of the wholly-owned subsidiary TASER International Europe SE. Part of this is attributed to foreign country's slow acceptance and adoption of TASER products as governments have been hesitant and reserved about such devices.Amnesty International even issued a warning about the devices.
TASER’s plans for the future reflect their success in strategy from the previous decade. TASER plans to increase market penetration in both the United States and the international market. There are many law enforcement agencies that do not employ TASER’s services, particularly in the international market. This represents a large untapped market that if widespread adoption were to occur would significantly increase TASER’s position in the market. Recent adoption of the use of ECD’s in the U.K. and Australia has served as benchmarks for the new international market, as these programs have done well.  Demonstration of the benefits and past success stories will help TASER seize these lucrative opportunities.
There exists a key opportunity with law enforcement agencies that have used TASER’s products currently and will continue to do so. This is derived from TASER’s ability to resell by introducing new and more innovative product enhancements. Model upgrades refresh the profile of older products and bring in a new enthusiasm by offering additional capabilities.  In addition to this the products are used in harsh circumstances, whether it be weather or the conditions of the confrontations encountered. Wear and tear limits the life span of a product such as an ECD to about 5 years.  These consumers who have purchased products before 2005 must consider investing in new equipment.
Another key opportunity exists within the federal government and the military markets. TASER will continue to place strong emphasis on their current relationships with military customers and hopefully strengthen their position within this market. With constant contact with military members through the use of their Senior Executive Advisory Group (SEAG) TASER will be able to focus supporting military use of their products and increase awareness of new product offerings made possible by technology development. The SEAG is made up of professionals who have extensive experience in the military, homeland defense, and law enforcement. 
There exists an opportunity to capture increasing sales from AXON and Evidence.com. After completing numerous field trials of the AXON and Evidence.com throughout 2010 the results show that these trial programs are the best way for customers to see the capabilities and benefits of TASER’s product technology.  Increasing the volume of these programs will help to achieve more revenue in 2011 and on.
As innovation and the development of technology continues, TASER will attempt to offer cutting edge products constantly. This will keep sales and marketability fresh and present in the minds of consumers.
One aspect of TASER’s business that is certainly seen as a negative is its vulnerability to litigation, which may cost the organization millions of dollars in a single case. When dealing with products that are as forceful as a taser, injury or even death is a possibility. This can harm the reputation of TASER and destroy product sales. In turn, this may lead to stricter regulation by governments, creating a low market demand for tasers and burdening TASER International with even more considerations. Governments may even act to cut off sales of TASER equipment as groups continue to protest the use of TASERs. This could lead to TASER having to remodel or scrap certain products. Another threat is that if they are not able to retain their intellectual property rights, TASER would lose their competitive advantage and incur substantial litigation costs. Protective measures such as patents and copyrights may prove inadequate to protect their market advantage. Extending this to foreign countries, TASER can enforce patent rights only in jurisdictions in which the applications have been granted. Meeting requirements differs from country to country. Also, in foreign countries the regulations for products such as these may be quite different than the standards employed in the United States. TASER must work with government officials and agencies to make sure that their products clear the regulations and restrictions uniquely imposed by different nations. A threat that must also be considered is that of competition. If a competitor is able to develop a product that is more technologically efficient and safer, it may well drive TASER International out of the market. It is key for an organization to stay current as technology develops at break neck speeds. 
Applied Energetics, Inc advances technologies in photonics and high voltage energetics. Applied Energetics markets products to a wide range of services, including the United States military and global chemical conglomerates. AE produces custom-built Ultra-Short Pulse Laser systems that are capable of high powers. They also design solid state high voltage and charged particle acceleration systems that fulfill unique requirements. Basically AE deals with lasers and high-voltage supplies.
Pepperball Technologies is a producer and distributor of less-lethal weapons for government, military, law enforcement agencies, corrections, and private use. It is the largest supplier of non lethal PAVA- based (pepper spray) launchers and projectiles. Pepperball projectiles have proven to be effective and safe with no reports of serious injury. Pepperball faces a much lower chance of litigation when compared to TASER.
BAE’s Land & Armaments division designs, develops, and produces armored combat vehicles, major and minor caliber naval guns and missile launchers, and individual equipment. The primary focus of their business is to provide technology solutions and flexible manufacturing capabilities to produce products that enhance survivability, lethality, and mobility. BAE is a privately held company.
MACE Security is the producer of the well known product mace, a pepper spray used for self defense or incapacitation of aggressive individuals. MACE also produces other products for security, including personal alarms, surveillance cameras, security DVRs, CCTV monitors, and security alarms. MACE specializes in both personal security products and electronic security systems.
|TASER||Applied Energetics||Pepperball Technologies||MACE Security|
|Gross Profit Margin||52.19%||6.22%||53.42%||30.01%|
|*Figures are in millions|
From the numbersone can tell that TASER is doing well relative to its competition. TASER has a far more vast amount of resources, which leads to its ability to produce top flight technologies that appeal to consumers. Though TASER struggled in the last year, the competition performed just as poorly if not worse. The number of employees is enough to show just how much larger of a corporation TASER has become compared to the competitors, in just a few years. Though TASER is competing well against this competition, it will look to further industries in the future if their plans for the future succeed. TASER will become competition with the likes of companies that supply the military and police forces their more destructive weapons, such as firearms and artillery producers. For this to happen TASER must turn around their recent slump though and capitalize on the opportunities that AXON and EVIDENCE.COM present.