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Palm's loss narrows on flat sales

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Palm's revenue slipped a fraction in the fourth quarter, as a lackluster handheld market continued to affect the company.

Palm generated $225.8 million in revenue for the fourth quarter ended May 31. This marks a 3 percent decline from the $233 million reported in the same quarter a year ago.

The handheld device and software maker did manage to shrink its net loss down to $15 million or a loss of $0.51 per share. This compares to a net loss of $27.5 million or a loss of $0.95 in last year's fourth quarter.

Palm included $2 million in restructuring charges and $3.8 million in separation costs related to its imminent spin-off of PalmSource in its figures. As it dumps the operating system unit, Palm is also planning to to acquire Handspring.

For the full fiscal year, Palm pulled in $871.9 million in revenue. This is a 15.4 percent fall from the cool $1.0 billion reported in 2002. The net loss for 2003 hit $442.6 million compared to a net loss of $82.2 million last year.

Palm shipped close to 931,000 handhelds during the fourth quarter and close to 4.2 million devices during the entire year.

The company claimed it was able to "inspire" the number of Palm OS applications to reach 18,300 up from 12,500 a year ago.

Shares of Palm traded down 3.5 percent during the day to close at $15.70. In after-hours trading, investors appeared pleased with Palm's ability to lower the quarterly net loss and sent shares higher by 4.5 percent to $17.03 at the time of this report. ®

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