Palm Lays off Workers

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Struggling smartphone maker Palm has laid off employees worldwide, but the company declined to say how many workers are affected.

The layoffs came this week, said Lynn Fox, a Palm spokeswoman. "It's generally the result of challenges facing the company and the industry, and better positions us to achieve profitability and long-term growth," she said.

The layoffs follow others that have happened at Palm already this year. For its third quarter, which ended Aug. 29, Palm let go of 130 employees, according to its most recent 10Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That followed a first-quarter workforce reduction of 120, according to the filing.

At the end of May, Palm had 1,050 employees.

On Thursday, the PalmInfocenter blog, citing unnamed sources, reported that around 200 Palm workers had been let go this week.

While the deteriorating economic situation worldwide is surely putting pressure on Palm, the company has struggled under increasing competition and a series of missteps in the past years. It continues to develop a promised Linux-based smartphone operating system, which some people thought would appear at the end of last year but has yet to be released. While Palm works on that product, new market entrant Google released its Linux-based Android software.

Palm also recently backtracked on its smartphone companion product, the Foleo, canceling its development after its purpose mystified some analysts.

But Palm has had at least one bright spot too. The low-cost Centro product surprised some industry onlookers with its popularity in the consumer market.

Palm recently introduced the Treo Pro, a handsome but expensive phone that retails for US$549 and is aimed squarely at business users.

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