Palm Takes a Hit

The handheld computer maker reported a significant loss for the quarter.

Citing continually slow industry demand, handheld computer maker Palm Inc. on Monday announced a significant loss for the quarter ending August 30.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company reported a net loss of $258.7 million for the quarter, or 45 cents a share, compared with $32.4 million, or six cents per share, for the year-ago quarter.

Revenues for the period were $172.3 million, compared to $214.3 million a year ago.

Chief financial officer Judy Bruner said the company has been facing "a continued overall weak demand environment" but that the company expects demand to rise in October, when Palm plans to release three new devices: an entry-level consumer device that will retail around $100, a device based on Palm OS5 that will run on an ARM-based processor, and a wireless device that runs on GPRS/GSM (general packet radio service/global system for mobility) networks. The last will be sold by major wireless carriers.

Palm also plans next quarter to release the long-awaited remote access server software based on technology acquired when Palm bought ThinAirApps Inc. and its ThinAir Server software last year.

The Tungsten Mobile Information Management Server Solution is due at the end of October, officials said.

Palm has had problems with product transitions in the past—trying to balance selling current inventory while creating excitement for future products. But officials said they have lived and learned from the mistakes they made when introducing the m500 device last year.

"We have learned a great deal about how to manage product transitions," said Eric Benhamou, Palms chairman and CEO. "We dont expect that this one, even though it is ambitious, will create any problems for the company."

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