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Palm's Q4 and FY07 Finance Results

Thu Jun 28, 2007 - 7:57 PM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell


Palm, Inc. announced its fourth quarter and fiscal year-end 2007 financial results today. Following their announcement, Palm held a conference call for the public at 4:30 p.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. Pacific).

The conference call was hosted by Ed Colligan, president and chief executive officer, and Andy Brown, cheif financial officer.

Palm's total revenue for the past quarter was $401.3 million. Smartphone sell-through for the quarter reached a company record high, totaling 750,000 units, up 43 percent year over year. Man alive, that's a lot of Treos! Smartphone revenue was $344.2 million, up 14 percent from the year-ago perdiod.

"Our record Treo(TM) sell-through reflects strong fundamentals in the core focus areas of our business," said Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer. "In fiscal year 2007, we expanded our international presence, improved our product pipeline and developed strategic platform technologies. I'm confident that in fiscal year 2008 more and more standard handset customers will demand the capabilities and ease of use of Palm smartphones, which aligns us well for future growth and profitability.

Palm's revenue for the full fiscal year in 2007 was $1.56 billion, down 1 percent from the $1.58 billion reported last year. Smartphone sell-through for the full year reached a company record high totaling 2.7 million units, up 34 percent year over year. Smartphone revenue was $1.25 billion, up 15 percent from the prior year.

Net income for fiscal year 2007 was $56.4 million, or $0.54 per diluted share. Net income included stock-based compensation expense of $24.3 million, amortization of intangible assets of $2.0 million and in-process research and development of $3.7 million.

While Palm's revenue and smartphone shipments continued to grow during the last quarter, their expectations for next quarter is $50 million lower, so Palm must be expecting to take a pretty big hit in the next 3 months. I'm sure that's not a great feeling, especially seeing that RIMM had such a spectacular earnings report today. We'll have to wait and see if the reorganization in Palm's management will make a difference in their future finances. And speaking of Palm's reorganization, I read a "rumor" today over at Unstrung that Palm has dropped some -- or all-- of their WiFi team which has been working on integrating WiFi in its Treo smartphone line and is now looking for replacements. What?! Palm had a Treo WiFi Team?! Well, I for one, hope that (a) Palm is still committed to WiFi on future Treos and (b) they fix whatever issue they had that prevented it. I still can't believe that Palm hasn't put WiFi in their Treos. I own three other smartphone devices, and they all have built-in WiFi. And of course out of the four Treos that I've owned, none of them have WiFi. Even the iPhone is going to have WiFi. I'm glad that the Foleo has WiFi!

You can read the full press release for more information.

During the Q&A session, the popular question was asked about Palm's handheld declining market. Palm isn't worried about the decline. The handheld area is just 15% of Palm's business, and Palm says that they are monitoring it very carefully.

When asked about the Foleo, Ed Colligan was obviously still very excited and optimistic about the Foleo's future. Colligan said that he doesn't expect the Foleo to do all that great in the first year. But he really believes in the Foleo, and Palm has been investing in the Foleo for the past three years. Colligan said that the Foleo is a smartphone companion today but will become a full-fledged computing platform tomorrow.

Now as to Palm's future, they plan to focus on market opportunities and increasing leverage in ODMs among other goals. Below is some info from the conference call:

Palm has five core objectives for the future:

1. Deliver revenue growth and profitability, with significant increases in smartphone sell-through

2. Deliver major new platforms on both the hardware and software fronts to increase differentiation and build defensibility

3. Drive hard on improving quality, predictability and time to market while working to drive out costs throughout supply chain

4. Better job of leveraging ODM partners to more effectively scale product line, and better leverage Window Mobile partnership with Microsoft

5. Establish Foleo as a new category in computing by creating and nurturing a strong developer community, expanding distribution and delivering a world-class product experience

As for new Palm devices coming? I believe Colligan said that Palm will have a number of new major products in 2008, including a range of smartphone products to reach new demographics and expand the number of wireless carriers. Colligan stated:

Palm will have major new platforms on the software and hardware front.

But I believe the gist of his statement regarding this calendar year was that the Linux OS Treos won't come until next calendar year. BooHoo! But if I heard him correctly, I think he said that there would be some new Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices coming out this calendar year. But don't quote me on that. ;-)

So let's see which way the scales tip for Palm in the coming months. Will their management reorganization and their recapitalization with Elevation Partners give them a big financial boost? I hope so! I'd also like to see the Foleo do well in sales. I wish Palm would hurry and start selling it because I want one! But please lower the price Palm.

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