Analysts today are shaking their heads at a report by TheStreet.com that basically said Verizon had decided against a launch of the Palm Pre next year. One analyst, Deutsche Bank's Jonathon Goldberg, went so far as to call it "off-base."
Simply, Palm yesterday reiterated its full year guidance, a gesture that Wall Street has interpreted as meaning a Verizon launch will still happen. TheStreet.com's report cited "people close to the discussions." The report also noted that Verizon may order a small number of Pres but not offer any marketing support for them.
That should have been the red flag on this report. Why would a company like Verizon order a small quantity of a new device and then not market it?
In a post on the Digital Daily blog this morning, John Paczkowski points to a second analyst, who also references the reaffirmation of guidance by Palm. The post quotes Morgan Keegan & Co.'s Tavis McCourt:
Verizon has carried just about every Palm product in its history, and the Pre is clearly the best. We do not have insight as to the marketing support Palm will get from Verizon, but we see little risk in not getting a placement at this carrier... Palm’s success at Sprint has typically been a good barometer for shipment trends at VZW and, with a postpaid sub base that’s roughly 3x as large as Sprint’s CDMA business, the market opportunity at VZW is much larger.
McCourt said he expects February 2010 to be the time-frame for Verizon to announce the Pre.