Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Palm: Never Mind Our Earnings–The Pre Is Going to Be Awesome

palm_preGive Palm credit: The handset maker, which has been struggling to figure out whether it wants to heighten expectations or dampen them, delivered third quarter results that were just as lousy as it had promised.

Palm (PALM) said it lost 89 cents a share–or 86 cents a share after excluding one-time charges–on sales of $96 million. Those numbers are roughly what Wall Street had expected, since Palm had already warned earlier this month that revenues would be bad, and that it would experience “continued margin pressure from its legacy product lines” for a while longer. Smartphone revenue was $77.5 million, down 72 percent year-over-year.

But both Palm and Wall Street have pretty much shut the book on the old company, and its old phones, like the Treo. The future of the Palm, for better or worse, is the Pre, its to-be-released wonderphone that Palm is positioning as a competitor to Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerrys.

But even here, Palm isn’t quite sure what to say about the phone it’s staked its future on. Last week, it had  to tell investors to disregard Palm investor Roger McNamee’s Pre hyperbole–specifically about its ability to unseat Apple’s iPhone.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik