It seems that it’s all over bar the shouting for Palm. The company that could and should have produced something like the iPhone before Apple did, is more or less throwing in the towel. By Ian Scales.
The crunch came with Palm’s third quarter earnings, reported yesterday. It made a loss of $22 million, which while a vast improvement over the $98 million loss reported for the same quarter last year, should have been a substantial profit stemming from the company’s rolling out of its smartphones - the Pre and Pixi - over the past year or so.
But Palm has missed the boat. While it shipped 960,000 units into the supply chain it actually sold only 408,000 units to customers. That was a drop of 29 per cent from the previous quarter of 2009 and it probably spells ‘the end’ for the company in its current form.
Palm of course made the original Palm Pilot, one of the first handheld or palmtop personal assistants that actually gained traction.
In that sense it had trumped Apple and its ill-fated Newton and should have gone on to develop the concept with multi-media and more comms options as these became viable.
It did actually end up with a push-button version of the iPhone (in a sense) when it added the Treo phone/digital assistant to its line-up but then seemed to lose momentum. Then came the iPhone.
For the past year (and probably longer) there’s been a sense that there was at least one OS too many in the booming smartphone market and that it was probably Palm’s - the market share numbers would define the end game and they just have.
Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein said that the experience and the company’s result had been "deeply disappointing." and apparently added that Palm's board would consider any "reasonable offer" for an acquisition.
The likelihood is that Palm will live on under the wing of someone bigger and stronger. The usual suspects (Microsoft, Dell) have been mentioned.
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