As we turn the corner into spring -- with much of the East Coast under a blanket of new snow -- we raise our heads and sniff for signs of life in the technology markets. In search of a promising warm breeze, peruse with us the latest quarterly results from hand-held leader Palm.
CEO Eric Benhamou provided an antidote to the bygone pro-forma excesses, in which dot-coms used to disclose everything but the bad news. Everyone reported Palm's pro-forma numbers alongside the more conservative accounting, because Wall Street still tracks both sets of figures. In Palm's latest quarter, the pro-forma numbers for once excluded more earnings than expenses -- and still Palm beat the Street's consensus forecasts.
Reporters and the analysts they quoted were by and large respectful of the company's progress toward profitability. AP writer May Wong gave a little background on the turnaround plan instituted by Benhamou. The Wall Street Journal delved into Palm's progress in the low end and midrange of the personal organizer market, quoting Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf: "Palm is proving that the organizer market still has legs."
TheStreet.com's Tish Williams was the only hardline holdout in the coverage we read. "Palm continued its slow bleed," she wrote. "Despite the boffo quarter, Palm's year-over-year comparison is still punishing." Ouch. CNET was among the several outlets whose reporter got a quote from J.P. Morgan H&Q analyst Paul Coster: "(Palm's) forward guidance was solid. I wouldn't say it is spectacular." Lukewarm, perhaps, but at least it's stopped snowing.
CBS MarketWatch's Bambi Francisco noted Banc of America Securities analyst Rob Sanderson's somewhat downbeat comparison of Palm's outlook to those of its closest competitors, Handspring and Research in Motion. Sanderson's net-net on the hand-held industry: "Things aren't getting a lot worse." We call that a sign of spring. - Keith Dawson
Palm Beats Wall Street Expectations (AP)
Palm Posts $2.9 Million Net Income In Period, Reversing Series of Losses
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Both Sides of Palm Reveal a Better-than-Expected Quarter
Palm posts slim profit
Palm tops Q3 sales objective
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