Handheld Makers Look For Better Days



Depressed sales, including a weak spring gift-buying season, are taking a toll on handheld makers. Palm Inc. posted a fourth-quarter loss last week, though it was significantly less than its loss in the year-ago quarter. Research In Motion Ltd., creator of the popular BlackBerry, is expected this week to report reduced quarterly earnings.

Palm expects to come close to breaking even in this quarter and may hit double-digit growth rates by next spring, CFO Judy Bruner says. But Pacific Coast Securities analyst James Faucette says IT spending will have to improve "pretty substantially" for that to happen.

Palm reported a net loss of $27.5 million, or 5 cents a share, for the quarter ended May 31, up from $392.1 million, or 69 cents, a year ago. The loss came despite a 41% jump in quarterly revenue to $233.3 million, up from $165.3 million in the year-ago quarter. For the year, Palm logged a net loss of $82.2 million, up from $356.5 million a year ago. Revenue was down 37% to $1.0 billion.

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