Palm Q4 FY09 Conference Call Highlights
Palm Inc. today reported their eighth straight quarterly loss as the new CEO Jon Rubinstein led the investor quarterly conference call. Palm posted a net loss of $105 million dollars on total revenue of $86.8 million. Smartphone sell-through came in at 460,000 units, down slightly from last quarter but down a tremendous 50% from the same period last year.
Newly crowned CEO Jon Rubinstein began the call with the opening script. He started off saying that after two years as Executive Chairmen he is very excited to start as CEO. He personally thanked Ed Colligan, especially for his work over the past two years and went over some of Palm's recent transformational accomplishments.
Rubinstein remarked that he is pleased with the Pre launch and he personally visited a number of Sprint stores in recent weeks. He said demand is "strong and growing" and the customer response so far "has been simply great."
On webOS he stated his belief that its is the platform that best takes advantage of the "benefits of web 3.0 better that any other platform out there today." He also dropped some stats on the current state of smartphone penetration, saying globally they make up 11% of sales, and are at 19% in the US and that these numbers are expected to double by 2013.
A lot of time was spent on the current status of the software development kit (SDK) for webOS. Rubinstein said that Palm is about to turn it over to thousands of more developers and that they are working "measured and methodically" on improving it for wider release later this summer.
He stated that they are working to ensure webOS is a world class app platform and that initial developer interest has been strong. Ruby also further elaborated that they are still tweaking the kit based on developer feedback and they don't want to rush it out. He also hinted at an improved experience for the App Catalog along with some sort of community based app recommendation system.
Rubinstein wrapped up his opening comments proclaiming that webOS represents a breakthrough in mobile product design that will provide enhanced capabilities for a decade of innovative devices and applications." saying that the Pre is just the first product in the pipeline.
Both Rubinstein and the CFO Doug Jeffries repeatedly refused to provide any specifics on Palm Pre sales numbers, gross margins, new carrier partnerships or even any guidance for future quarters. They also dodged questions on the future of the Windows Mobile platform at Palm and when any future Pre launches would happen.
Mr. Jefferies did say that the company hopes to be "cash flow positive" in the second half of 2010. He tried to play down questions on Palm's current capital situation and stated they are making investments to return to long term success.
The CFO did note that handhelds still contributed some "marginal revenue" however it was so low that he would not even break down the numbers. Mr. Jefferies went on to say that Palm is no longer manufacturing handhelds and is focusing all of its resources on smartphones. Last quarter, the company only sold about 100k units.
The following clip is from Rubinstein's opening remarks talking about webOS and its future potential.