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Fossil blames Flextronics for Wrist PDA delay

Even as the device's manufacturer successfully sued for $1bn

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Watch maker Fossil has blamed the latest set-back to the release of its Palm OS-based Wrist PDA squarely on its manufacturing partner, Flextronics.

That claim comes a day after Flextronics was ordered to pay almost $1 billion in damages by a California jury.

Following The Register's exclusive story last Thursday detailing the company's decision to delay the device's release yet again, the company on Friday released a statement on matter.

The statement clarifies the "production quality" issues raised by the Fossil spokeswoman we talk to the day before. Says Fossil: "Flextronics, our production partner, has been unable to meet initial inventory requirements for the launch."

We understand that the devices may have been ready to ship but were recalled after a last-minute glitch was exposed. We have been given a late Q4 2003/ Q1 2004 release date, but Fossil's official line is that there is no rescheduled ship date.

"Once production complications have been resolved and product quality specifications have been met or exceeded, Fossil will begin shipments of the Wrist PDA with Palm OS," the company said on Friday.

This latest set-back is the third time the Wrist PDA's release date has been put back. Originally due to ship on 30 June, the device was then pegged for late July availability. As that timeframe approached, the release was put back to 30 September.

Back in June, we reported that the Wrist PDA would not ship until early 2004, a date given to us by an official Fossil UK representative. The US parent quickly denied the claim, but it's increasingly clear that the UK information was correct all along.

Flextronics, meanwhile, has other problems: last week, as we broke the Fossil story, a California jury found the contract manufacturer guilty of fraud, economic duress and having been in breach of contract.

The company was sued by Dovatron, which in 1997 contracted a firm called Beckman Coulter to make blood analysis equipment. BC was subsequently acquired by Flextronics in 2000, a year before Dovatron's manufacturing contract was due to expire.

The jury ordered Flextronics to pay $3 million in compensation and $931 million in punitive damages. The manufacturer has said it will appeal against the verdict. ®

Related Stories

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Fossil puts back Palm Wrist PDA launch to 2004

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