Monday, March 9, 2009

(Prē)dicting Palm success: right timing

Do you know the secret in stock trades, or in comedy? For you who work as an investment broker or a comedian, you know exactly the answer: timing.

And that’s probably is the same answer for Palm in order to rise from the ashes of doubts, and from the grim preliminary 3rd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2009 which fell short of analysts’ estimates by as much as 50%. “The timing and success of the Palm launch is now the critical factor,” said Maynard Um, an analyst at UBS AG in New York.

And one man in particular; co-founder of the Elevation Partners Roger McNamee has great believe that Palm’s plan to release the Prē™ is right on the money pot and the timing of the release date is just right:

“You know the beautiful thing: June 29, 2009, is the two- year anniversary of the first shipment of the iPhone,” McNamee said today in an interview with Bloomberg in San Francisco. “Not one of those people will still be using an iPhone a month later.”

Now I don’t know if McNamee is also practicing punch-lines for late night show, but I trust he have more skill on investment and thus he continues to boast about the upcoming Palm Prē™:

“Think about it -- If you bought the first iPhone, you bought it because you wanted the coolest product on the market,” said McNamee (52). “Your two-year contract has just expired. Look around. Tell me what they’re going to buy.”

Palm and Sprint, the wireless exclusive carrier who will sell the Prē™, have both keep tight lips on the release date. But McNamee’s statement above had indirectly reveals the release date; around the month of July. Michelle Leff Mermelstein, a spokeswoman for Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint, didn’t return a call seeking comment. And like usual, Palm spokeswoman Leslie Letts declined to comment beyond Palm’s previous statements.

Roger mcnamee short hairedBut did McNamee forget about the current economy recession? Apparently he didn’t: The economic slowdown “is an enormous risk for everybody in this marketplace -- but I don’t care,” said McNamee. IMHO Palm just can’t wait for another year to release the Prē™, the company is in dire need to bring in hard cash instead of wasting it by waiting for the economy to get better. For Palm, it’s now or never.

Elevation Partners, the investment firm injected $100 million to lift its stake in Palm to 39% and whose partners include U2 singer Bono, is showing a lot of faith in Palm Prē™. Palm is “by far” Elevation’s largest investment, said McNamee. “I’m there about three times a week, mostly with the engineers,” he said. “We have seven people who work on Palm, three of whom do nothing but work on Palm.”

“I’m on a 10-year plan, here,” McNamee said. “They are going to run out of gas way before we are.”

And how about us, Palm loyalist and fans, do we have that much of faith for 10-year plan ahead from now? The timing couldn’t be more perfect than now to test Palm if it can stand out in the crowd once more and answer the calling, since we’re more than ever persuaded by iPhone, BlackBerry and Android to switch over. ;-)

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