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Palm Earnings Preview

Wed Jun 25, 2008 - 4:57 PM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell


Palm, Inc. recently announced that it will give its fourth quarter and fiscal year-end 2008 financial results tomorrow, Thursday, June 26th, around 4:00 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Pacific), followed by a conference call for the public at 4:30 p.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. Pacific).

Forbes.com has written up an earnings preview, a summary of key developments and analyst opinion.

Forbes summarizes the past few months of happenings at Palm. We reported on the millionth Centro being sold at the end of March. Forbes said that the millionth Centro sale was a milestone that was reached within less than a year of the device's September release. We reported that Palm said that they plan to ship 2 million Centros in 2008.

We also reported recently that shares of Palm jumped 9 percent on the day that Palm announced the launch of the Verizon Centro.

The article mentions Palm saying that its third-quarter loss was larger than initially reported, due to a $25 million write-down for auction-rate securities that lost value since that debt market's February collapse. Good thing you all can't see the glazed over look in my eyes as I just typed that. Just mention any kind of financial stuff and I'm lost. ;-)

Anyway, Palm stated that it lost $57 million for the quarter that ended February 28, and not $31.5 million as reported back in March. Yep, that's a pretty big difference, when we're talking millions.

During that same quarter Apple said that it was tweaking the iPhone's software to enable the device to with Microsoft Corporation's Exchange software. And that put the iPhone in competition with Palm's Treo and RIM's BlackBerrys. And more recently when Apple announced the launch date of its iPhone 3G and some of the software that would be available via 3rd party apps, there was mention of lots of medical software. This will certainly make for competition for Palm smartphones since there are sooooo many medical professionals who use this type of software on their Palm handhelds and smartphones. Dieter talked about this topic in Podcast #20 of The iPhone Blog. Dieter said that he gets loads of emails through WMExperts and TreoCentral from people in the medical field that use their devices everyday and the apps are core to their jobs. This was a great podcast and was a group podacst, so you should go and check it out if you haven't already!

The Forbes article reports that analysts polled by Thomson Financial expect Palm to report a loss of 18 cents per share on $302.1 million in revenue. The estimates generally exclude special items.

Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg was said to predict that "in the fourth quarter, Palm's results will echo the year's earlier quarters with strong unit shipments and weak profitability." In other words, Palm will continue to sell Centro's like hotcakes but won't profit that much since the Centro sells for that low $99 price.

You can read the full article here.

Whatever Palm does report tomorrow, we're fairly confident it won't be anywhere near the same ballpark as what RIM has just announced, as reported by sister site CrackBerry.com, their profit last quarter DOUBLED year-over-year to 482.5 million and also doubled revenue of 2.27 billion. Wow! That's, well, ... just, Wow!

We'll be doing our usual analysis of the Palm financial call and results, so check in tomorrow.

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