Palm is still losing money

Palm limped toward the launch of the Pre, relying on cash and short-term investments to pull it through eight consecutive money-losing quarters in an attempt to turn things around. And now that the Pre has been turned loose, and Pixi, Palm's second WebOS, device is on the way, the struggling company's long-term outlook remains modest, and it continues to post losses. Yet it doesn't want to get too specific about numbers.

For the quarter ending on August 31, Palm reported a loss of $161.1 million with revenues that dropped 82% to $68 million.

The release of the Pre caused a 134% quarterly surge in shipments, with more than 823,000 units shipped against Q4 2009 when 351,000 shipped. The annual growth this represents, however, is much less dramatic. When weighed against the first quarter of the last fiscal year, Palm only shipped 30% more units.

Furthermore, the number of units actually sold to customers is 21% lower than last year.

John Rubenstein, Palm's CEO said today, "With the launch of the Pre, we accomplished one of our most crucial milestones, now we're focused on growth. We're confident we're on the path to success."

But the company didn't say exactly how many Pres it had sold. Sprint, for example, still sells the popular Centro, which has sold 3 million units so far (and now goes for only $29), the Treo 755, and the Treo Pro; all of which cannibalize the Pre's market. There's really no indication of how much longer investors will wait before Rubenstein's company can be officially declared successful again.

However, the company is anticipating revenue between $1.6 and $1.8 billion this year, which actually beats out Wall Street's expected $1.58 billion, so maybe it won't be that long. After all, how much longer can the company keep this up?

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