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Palm erodes Handspring marketshare

Continues to retake consumer PDA market

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Palm continued to eat into the marketshare of PalmOS-licensee Handspring during September thanks to its increased focus on the mainstream consumer market.

According to US retail and mail order market watcher NPD Intelect, Palm had a 68.8 per cent share of PDA sales in that arena during September, down a smidge on August's figure of 70 per cent.

Palm dominated the PDA market, followed by Handspring with 11.2 per cent, down on the 15.5 per cent it took in August. Handspring was founded by the two people - Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky - who first set up Palm.

It's important to note that NPD's figures are based on dollar sales, so Palm's slight slip can, in part, be attributed to a shift towards its m100 consumer PDA with its low price. Handspring lacks the higher priced models that Palm offers, so its dollar share will inevitably appear lower than its unit share.

Still, Handspring's drop does suggest that sales are slowing a little, probably in response to Palm's move on its territory and because its product line could do with updating.

In any case, Handspring remains way above number three in the market, NEC, at 4.6 per cent, arriving from nowhere and knocking Casio out of the top five. Compaq came in at number four, also with 4.6 per cent, and Hewlett-Packard was fifth, with 4.3 per cent.

All this leaves Windows CE with a higher share of the market than it had in August, but again, high PocketPC prices push up these three companies' share even though they may not have sold that many more machines.

One final note, NPD's figures for the period January to September show that some two million PDAs were sold through retail during those months this year, an increase of nearly 163 per cent on the 800,000 PDAs sold during the same nine-month period in 1999. The average price of a PDA fell 13.3 per cent between those two periods, from $345 to $299.

By contrast, the number of desktop PCs sold during that timeframe fell from nine million units in 1999 to 7.6 million units this year, a drop of 16.2 per cent. The average price rose nearly four per cent from $951 to $987. ®

Rank Brand Dollar Share
(Per Cent)
1 Palm 68.8%
2 Handspring 11.2%
3 NEC 4.6%
4 Compaq 4.6%
5 Hewlett-Packard 4.3%

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