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CNN Money has an interview with Palm’s CEO; here are some of the highlights:

The conventional wisdom is that Palm has blown it and either is going to run out of money or get sold or both.

Clearly we’ve hit a speed bump. No question about it. It’s really disappointing, and it’s frustrating. But, the company has tremendous assets.  We’ve got a great team we’ve built over the last couple of years.  Remember this whole thing was a transformation story.  It  wasn’t like we took something that was working and didn’t run it well.  We started off with a company that had no future, and we have been transforming it. We have arguably the best mobile operating system out there. It’s clearly the easiest to use and has the most intuitive user interface. We’ve got good products that get critical acclaim.  It’s in its early stages still, but we’ve got great quality of apps, and new apps coming all the time.  By the time you get this published, we’ll have commerce going in Europe, which is a big milestone for us.  We’ve got good relationships with carriers.

We’ve got all those things going for us, and what we need to do is get more commercial success and get to scale.  And that’s going to take longer than we’d hoped, obviously, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get there.  We do have $590 million in the bank, and we have a plan that carries this company forward. Now, we need to be frugal and we need to invest in those areas that have the best return for us, but when I read that we’re going out of business or our stock is worth zero or those kinds of things, it defies logic to me.

One Wall Street analyst says the [Palm] webOS no longer is a major differentiator because there are enough good mobile operating systems. You obviously disagree.

I would disagree.  Look, webOS, has all the capabilities you’d expect from a world-class smart phone. It does email and messaging. It does Web browsing and video capture.  And then it has some things that most don’t have: capabilities to share and edit video, and immersive 3D gaming.  There’s a whole list of things that you’d expect the top tier to have, and we have those all in webOS. Then we have additional things, like real multitasking. So, if you’re playing 3D games and you want to go check your calendar or email, you can just switch between tasks and come back to your game.  And then if you have multitasking, you really need unobtrusive notifications so that when you’re doing something you can get a notification of what’s going on in the world without interrupting what you’re working on.  We also have a feature called Synergy that gives users the ability to have a single view of their data from various sources in the cloud, from Facebook and LinkedIn and Exchange and Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO). We have universal search, so you just start typing, which goes back to Palm’s original DNA of really minimizing the number of steps you have to take to accomplish it. And it goes on and on.

Please forgive the downer questions, but here’s another …

That’s okay, go ahead.  I’m bummed out too, by things like not taking off at Verizon.  One of the analysts on our earnings call asked if we had launched when Droid launched, and Droid launched when [we] launched at Verizon, would the story have been opposite?  I said I think we have a better product than Droid, and customers would have been happier with it.

Was it a mistake to debut with Sprint in the first place?

Hindsight is always 20/20, but you have to understand that we had a long-term relationship with Sprint. Sprint wanted to do an aggressive launch on webOS.  They were willing to invest significant marketing dollars.   But the quid pro quo for that is that we had to do an exclusive with Sprint. Now, if I sit today and I kind of roll back the clock and go, okay, now if I could have launched in October with Verizon, and done a shorter exclusive with Sprint, and the world would be completely different today, yeah, I mean, that’s easy to say. But you don’t know these things at the time. And Sprint has been a really good partner for Palm.  They continue to be a really good partner for Palm.

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Palm Inc. shares fell Wednesday afternoon amid chatter Verizon Wireless may drop its Pre Plus and Pixi Plus smartphones, sales of which have disappointed many on Wall Street.
The buzz started after Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek told his firm’s salesforce Verizon Wireless was “evaluating the potential for destocking,” industry jargon for dropping a product from the store shelves. Misek cited conversations with Verizon Wireless officials.

“We have relationships with certain people at Verizon, and they have been very, very disappointed with Palm sales,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Read the full story on Total Telecom.

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Investors had come to see that Apple’s relationship with AT&T was still strong. The iPad was going to be available with pre-paid data service from AT&T, and using 3G frequencies not available on T-Mobile, the only other GSM carrier in the United States. That alone was enough to trigger a rally in shares of PALM. The stock gained 11% from the day’s low to peak at $11.98 a share, though it eventually settled down at $11.70 by the close of the market. That was a 4.7% gain from the open and a rally of close to 8% from the low of $10.75.

Source: Pre Central

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Pre #6 smartphone in Q3 2009

Market research firm IDC has for years been compiling data on the best-selling smartphones in the US. While their numbers from the second quarter of 2009 ranked the Palm Pre at #8, in the following three months the Pre moved up to #6. The jump was likely spurred on by a number of factors, including increased supply and price cuts at Sprint and resellers, as well as the fact that the Pre was only on the market for one third of the second quarter.
It will be interesting to see the top ten list for Q1 2010, since by then the Pre will have launched on Verizon.

[Source: Pre Central]

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