Palm: Still a "Show Me" Story. In Other News, Fire Still Hot, Water Still Wet.
Though its shares are up more than 900 percent since January, Palm remains a “show me” story. So says Susquehanna Financial analyst Jeffrey Fidicaro, who seems to think the Street is putting a bit too much faith in the company’s next-generation platform, WebOS, and the devices that run on it.
“Palm is still a turnaround story with its financial success reliant on the newly released webOS operating system and new devices in an increasingly competitive smartphone market,” Fidicaro said in a note to clients Wednesday. “While we anticipate Palm to expand its carrier partners both in the U.S. and internationally, and expect sell-in unit shipment growth to ramp accordingly, we believe the current valuation reflects an optimistic adoption rate of webOS devices.”
Fidicaro went on to say that while he feels webOS is a decent enough platform, its success might be limited–in the near term, at least–because of Palm’s (PALM) exclusive distribution deal with Sprint (S).
“We view the recent price decrease for the Pre to $149 (from $199 at launch) with caution as it may signal that it needed to be repositioned in order to achieve the price elasticity required to reinvigorate unit sales,” he said. “Longer term, we are cautious regarding the webOS platform’s sustainable competitive advantage, especially compared to RIM in enterprise and Apple in retail with more than 75,000 applications in its App Store.”