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Palm bleeds gently with $54.2m loss

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Palm has turned in Q2 results that are slightly less horrible than expected. Analysts had called it as a loss of 7 cents a share on $280 million revenues, whereas it turned out to be 6 cents on $290 million. This still adds up to a loss of $54.2 million in a quarter that includes holiday sales, and still leaves Palm with an unpleasantly large pile of unsold stuff.

In the same period last year Palm's revenues were $522 million. The company says sales picked up in November, so it can be hopeful that this will have continued through December, but it's still talking about a reduced inventory level of just under six weeks, and that isn't likely to go down much in calendar Q1.

Rationally, Palm isn't likely to see much daylight through the first half of next year. In the longer term the company is now betting on wireless, new corporate products and a new ARM-based platform, but the lateness of its conversion to the latter leaves it with something of a missile gap. Palm chairman and interim CEO Eric Benhamou says there will be a beta version of Palm OS for ARM by the end of May, which gives us a pretty good idea about how far off the next generation is. ®

Related stories:
Palm revs wireless plans with TI deal
Palm to buy corporate wireless software op

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