RadioShack Dumping Palm? [UPDATED]
For Palm, April is indeed proving to be the cruelest month. It began with reports that the company is for sale and continued with news of the departure of software chief Michael Abbott. Now comes another ugly development: RadioShack appears to be dumping the company’s smartphone line. The Palm Pre and Pixi have disappeared from the retailer’s Web site and from the shelves of many of its stores.
As of this writing, RadioShack’s Palm Store is entirely empty (“What are you shopping for in our Palm Store?” “Nothing!”). And CL King analyst Lawrence Harris reports that a number of RadioShack locations are no longer stocking the Sprint (S) version of the Pre and Pixi.
“Over the weekend we visited multiple RadioShack locations in the New York metro area,” Harris writes. “Most were no longer carrying the Palm Pre or Pixi. One location still had some Pixi’s, but no Pre’s in stock. The store manager told us that sales of the Pixi would be limited to the stock on hand, with no further shipments expected. Historically, RadioShack has been an important sales channel for Sprint. In recent weeks RadioShack was offering both Palm models for free, probably in order to clear out inventory.”
I’ve asked both Palm (PALM) and RadioShack (RSH) for comment and will update here if and when I’m given one.
UPDATE: Wendy Dominguez, corporate media relations manager for RadioShack, just provided me with the following comment: “For competitive reasons we don’t comment on inventory numbers and distribution of specific devices. Palm has been a good partner. We expect that relationship to continue.”
Dominguez declined to explain why Palm devices are no longer available for sale in RadioShack’s Palm Store. Nor would she comment on reports that the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi have disappeared from a number of the company’s brick-and-mortar locations.
UPDATE: Palm has declined comment.
UPDATE: Sprint has confirmed to Tech Trader Daily that it is indeed phasing out sales of both the Palm Pixi and Pre. “The plan is for the Pre to be replaced by a BlackBerry device and the Pixi for a message-centric device,” a spokesman told the blog.
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