updated 06:50 pm EST, Thu February 19, 2009
Sprint Pre exclusive
Sprint Nextel has established an agreement with Palm that will give the carrier exclusive rights to distribute the Pre handset in the US until the end of 2009, according to CNBC. The anonymous source did not provide details of any plans for 2010 and beyond, while Palm and Sprint have remained quiet regarding the negotiations. Both companies are likely counting on the device to grow their market share. The Pre is expected to launch sometime in the first half of the year.
Palm has seen a steady decline in its corporate market share, dropping from 28 percent early in 2007 to just 11 percent late in 2008 as the company was overtaken by Apple for the number two position behind RIM. A month before the Pre event at CES, the company reported a $97 million loss for its fiscal quarter and a 39 percent drop in smartphone revenue year over year. "We're working through an undeniably difficult period," said Ed Colligan, president and CEO.
Sprint on Thursday disclosed its latest quarterly results, showing a similar plight as the company lost $257 million compared to a profit of $325 million year over year. The carrier also continues to lose customers, with a subscriber base now below 50 million users. Many observers believe the Palm Pre to be the first Sprint device to offer formidable competition to the iPhone or BlackBerry Storm.
Unofficial estimates place the Pre launch sometime late in spring. Any positive affect for either company could be confirmed the following quarter.