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Palm marketshare nibbled by PalmOS partners

Handspring and Sony wax as Palm wanes - but watch out for Compaq

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Updated Palm's US retail marketshare continued to shrink last month, but at least the company has the consolation that what it has lost has all gone to PalmOS licensees and not PocketPC.

The PDA company took 59 per cent of the PDA market in February, down two per cent on January's figure and six per cent on December, according to US retail market monitor PC Data. Handspring, the market's number two, took 28 per cent, representing an increase of two per cent.

Overall, Handspring is leeching sales away from Palm, with the latter grabbing marketshare back briefly whenever is launches something new. With both companies releasing new machines this month - the Handspring Visor Edge, and Palm's m105, m500 and m505 - it will be interesting to see how the stats match up over March and April.

Sony entered the chart in its own right for the first time last month, taking two per cent of the market, showing that after a shaky start, its Clié PDA is at last beginning to sell. It's marketshare should continue to grow, provided the company continues to cut prices on the current model and brings to the US the sleek new machine it launched in Japan last week.

PocketPC/Windows CE-based devices didn't gain anything. Hewlett-Packard let the usual suspects with four per cent of the market. Compaq followed with three per cent, Casio with two per cent. The PDA arena's 'Others' together also notched up two per cent.

In short, PocketPC remains a relatively poor seller in the US retail market. However, the platform is doing rather better through broader, more enterprise-oriented channels, as suggested by the latest stats from Europe. Here, Compaq and HP together account for 31 per cent of the market, at least during December 2000, up from 18 per cent in January - before the launch of the very popular iPaq just under a year ago.

According to UK-based research company Context, Palm took 55 per cent of the market in December, down from 59 per cent in January.

Compaq's growth, in particular, is attested by anecdotal evidence from industry and channel sources. Several multiplatform resellers have said the iPaq is selling out as fast as Compaq can ship them.

One UK reseller told us: "The sales split has changed sharply since Christmas. In the last two months it has been 80 per cent iPaq, 15 per cent Palm and five per cent Psion. Before Christmas the split was 20 per cent iPaq, 30 per cent Palm and 50 per cent Psion." ®

Related Stories

Palm launches m500, 505
Sony turns Clié PDA into digital audio, movie player
Handspring Edge to launch Monday
Palm m105 debuts on firm's Euro Web site

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