Palm posts expected $9.6m loss

Palm's posted losses were as they company had anticipated and forewarned investors.

Palm recently posted its losses which were as the company had anticipated. Earlier this month, Palm, Inc. warned investors that would soon announce a larger financial loss last quarter than it had previously thought. Today, the company made that prediction official.

During its most recent financial quarter, Palm lost $9.6 million, or 9 cents per diluted common share, as compared to a $12.7 million profit in year-over-year quarter.

The company's revenue during the quarter -- which ended November 30 -- was $349.6 million. Its revenue during the same three months of last year was $392.9 million.

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Palm anticipates losses in last quarter
This is Palm's second unprofitable quarter in a row, after several years of consistent profitability.

A bright spot
There was one bit of good news in Palm's report: the number of smartphones it sold was up.

Smartphone sell-through for the quarter was 686,000 units, up 11% year over year. Smartphone revenue was $282.4 million.

In contrast, sales of traditional handhelds were down considerably. There were 323,000 units sold during the quarter, a 35% decline year over year. Revenue from this class of devices was $67.2 million.

A transition period
In a statement that accompanied this announcement, Ed Colligan, Palm president CEO, said, "We are transforming Palm to exploit the market opportunity and instilling operational rigor throughout the organization. We've taken actions to align our expenses to the current operating environment and are focusing on core initiatives that will have the greatest impact on achieving our long-term success."

Much of the transformation Colligan is talking about comes at the hands of Palm's new Chairman, Jon Rubinstein, who is working to remake the company into form he believes will make it a serious competitor again.

Colligan's mention of "actions to align our expenses to the current operating environment" is an oblique reference to a recent round of layoffs at the company.

A rocky road ahead
Palm is not anticipating a quick return to profitability; it is predicting that its current quarter will be worse than the last one.

Revenue is expected to be between $310 million and $320 million, with a loss in the range of 31 to 33 cents per common share.

Unfortunately for Palm, it has warned that it might have trouble during this quarter getting enough components to meet demand for one of its most successful new products, the Centro. This consumer-oriented smartphone is currently a Sprint exclusive, but it will be released by at least one additional telecom in the near future.

"We are pleased with the early success of the Palm Centro and intend to deliver more Windows Mobile and Palm-based products throughout the next year," said Colligan.

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