Over at Palm Infocenter, we see a story that Palm is laying off "as many as 200 people" Worldwide. PIC also suggests that Palm may be closing some international offices in Europe and Asia as well. The total headcount after the layoffs at palm may be as low at 800-900 people.
Exactly who, where, and when these layoffs will occur is still unknown. As PIC notes, Palm's stock has really taken a beating lately and they've been consistently losing money every quarter. Up to this point, we at TreoCentral have been relatively upbeat about Palm given that they partially owned by a private investment group, Elevation Partners, and so had a measure of protection against the ups and downs of their stock price. Essentially, Palm just has to 'tough it out' until they release their new OS and new line of smartphones.
We spoke with someone at Palm for comment and they have confirmed that they will be layoffs worldwide, adding:
As a result of significant challenges facing our company and industry, Palm is restructuring its worldwide operations to better position the company for achieving profitability and long-term growth. The global economic downturn continues to dampen demand for consumer goods around the world, and the impact on the economic environment is worsened by our maturing Centro line and the length of time it is taking to ramp our new Windows Mobile products. The restructuring will result in company reductions in the U.S. and internationally, and our goal is to consolidate resources behind fewer programs to focus our efforts more effectively.
Both issues mentioned here -- the aging Centro line and Windows Mobile product delays -- have been well known since at least the last quarterly conference call. Hopefully the "long-term growth" mentioned above is the new platform.
Although Palm did not comment, it may be that analyst speculation earlier this month about Palm's weak cash position and delays releasing the Treo Pro on AT&T were accurate.
The economy's in a tough place right now, Palm is definitely not immune. Let's just hope they can stick it out long enough to give us a big launch for their Linux-based smartphones next year.
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