Analyst: "The Pre Is DOA"
Here’s the flip side of reports that Palm plans to deliberately keep supplies of the Pre artificially low to foster the perception of a shortage and spur demand: There will be a shortage, but it won’t be deliberate or artificial.
Collins Stewart analyst Ashok Kumar claims that his supply chain checks indicate that Palm has “drastically reduced its production orders” for the Pre. Kumar says “multiple hardware and software issues” have forced Palm’s hand here and that he doesn’t expect the company to meet its expected goal of one million units shipped in the second half of 2009. He even goes so far as to describe that figure as “highly unrealistic.”
And that’s only the beginning of the company’s troubles, says Kumar, who was apparently wronged by Palm (PALM) in some previous life. It may face significant carrier issues as well: “Sprint is the only major carrier that has signed on to sponsor the Pre platform. Sprint, which has only a third of the subscriber base of either AT&T or Verizon, has been losing customers due to structural problems,” he writes. “In our opinion, it is highly unlikely customers of AT&T or Verizon will switch to Sprint. Across the pond, carriers are taking a wait and see attitude given the high platform cost and lack of conviction on sell through. If Sprint does not match or beat AT&T’s subsidized iPhone price of $199, which translates to a subsidy in excess of $200, the Pre is DOA.”
A decidedly more jaundiced view of the Palm’s position than we’ve been hearing. That said, it’s best considered with at least a portion of the skepticism it brings to the Pre’s prospects. Certainly, supply chain checks don’t always provide the most reliable data. And the Pre is generating quite a bit of interest in advance of its forthcoming launch–whenever that is.