Late yesterday, Scott Moritz of TheStreet.com reported that Verizon had decided, "not to support the Pre." Bloomberg followed up this morning by citing a Palm spokesperson who reiterated the company's plan to offer the Pre through multiple carriers, beginning in the second half of fiscal 2010. Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S ) is expected to remain the Pre's exclusive carrier through December.
What's to come in the new year is what worries investors, who sold off Palm by almost 5% yesterday. I can appreciate their concern. Sprint Nextel is fine, but Verizon and AT&T (NYSE: T ) are the biggies, and Ma Bell already has an exclusive deal for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhone. Verizon, meanwhile, has a history of signing exclusive deals for varying flavors of Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM ) BlackBerry.
Palm could be stuck with Sprint at the worst possible time. The company just issued 20 million new shares of stock at $16.25 apiece, raising $359.9 million (including the over-allotment option). Investors who bought at that price had to be counting on a wider distribution network for the Pre.
Then again, all of this could be needless arm-waving. Talk of Nokia pursuing Palm hasn't led anywhere, and my own speculation -- that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) would make for a decent suitor -- is likely premature.
Maybe the simplest answer to the Palm-Verizon question is that they're still talking, and we'll know more when we know more. Would that really be so shocking?
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