Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Death of a Pilot

How far Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) has fallen. Once a dominant supplier of personal digital assistants (PDAs), researcher Gartner says that Palm is no longer even among the top five.

How sad. I'm one of those old-school tech guys who bought a PalmPilot in 1996. They were all the rage in Silicon Valley at the time, and Palm was a media darling for finally creating an affordable and easy-to-use PDA.

Fast-forward a decade. Though PDA shipments grew by 40% in the first quarter, Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) is now the leader, with 18.1% of the market. Mio Technology was second with 11.1%, Samsung third with 8.8%, Sharp fourth with 8.5%, and Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) fifth with 6.2%.

The once-proud Palm operating system is suffering, too. According to Gartner, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) now claims a 62.1% share of the market for handheld operating systems. Palm ranks third, well behind second-place RIM.

Should investors be nervous? Palm, which launched its last handheld in 2005, says no (of course). I respectfully disagree.

Still, management has an argument. The Treo line of smartphones experienced 23% revenue growth during the third quarter and accounted for 86% of gross sales. What's more, the Treo has fan sites all over the Web, such as

But Palm's fan base appears to be fading. According to press reports, the company sold just 5.5% of the world's smartphones last year -- down substantially from 9.2% the year before. You know what that means. Whatever advantage the Treo once had is fading, and fast.

And now, with the demise of the handheld business, there's no competitive advantage left. Just hope, and memories of glory embodied in an aging PalmPilot who's long since been grounded. God speed, Palm investors.

Related Foolishness is just a click away:

Palm is a Stock Advisor pick. Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation. Click on the appropriate link to get 30 days of free access to the service of your choice. There's no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers, ranked 5,881 out of more than 29,200 in CAPS, owns a Treo 600. He's old school that way. Tim owned shares of Nokia at the time of publication. Tim's portfolio holdings can be found at his Fool profile. His thoughts on Foolishness and investing may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy was flying back from vacation in Sun Valley at the time of this report. Leave a message and it will get back to you.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (17)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 528486, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2016 5:04:39 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,169.27 -53.76 -0.30%
S&P 500 2,143.16 -8.17 -0.38%
NASD 5,283.40 -26.43 -0.50%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

6/30/2010 4:00 PM
PALM.DL2 $5.69 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Palm CAPS Rating: *
BBRY $7.27 Down -0.08 -1.09%
BlackBerry CAPS Rating: *
MSFT $60.99 Down -0.01 -0.02%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****
NOK $4.97 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Nokia CAPS Rating: **