Palm reports better-than-expected quarter

Palm's earning big bucks!SANTA CLARA, June 30 (MaxisNet) - Palm Inc.

Palm's earning big bucks!

SANTA CLARA, June 30 (MaxisNet) - Palm Inc. has reported a better-than-expected profit in its fourth quarter, amid strong demand for its handheld computers used as electronic organisers and Internet communications devices.

In its first full quarter since being spun off from 3Com Corp., Palm's earnings jumped to US$16.9 million or three cents a share for the quarter ended June 2, excluding separation costs related to the split. The company earned US$6.8 million, or one cent a share in the year ago period.

Analysts expected Palm to earn just one cent a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial, which tracks earnings estimates.

The stronger profit was helped by a doubling of revenue to US$350.2 million from US$174.3 million the prior year. Including the separation costs, net income for the fourth quarter was US$12.4 million, or two cents per share.

Palm said it shipped more than 1.1 million devices in the quarter, bringing cumulative shipments to more than 7.1 million.

The company said that it managed its gains despite a shortage of components in the quarter, although its close relationships with suppliers helped it meet most of the demand.

"We achieved these results despite industrywide component shortages," said Carl Yankowski, Palm's chief executive officer. "We believe Palm's aggressive marketing efforts and the visibility of our IPO have been major factors in stimulating the total market demand for handhelds."

The company underscored its commitment to connect Palm's future to the Internet, since its handheld computers are increasingly being viewed as Internet devices. The latest Palms to be released are built with wireless access to the Net.

"The mobile wireless Internet has emerged as an exciting growth opportunity for Palm, and our strategy to address it has gained major traction across each of our businesses," Yankowski said.

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