Sprint locks down the Palm Pre for all of 2009

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

Palm Pre

Sprint Nextel has exclusive U.S. rights to sell Palm’s hotly anticipated Pre phone through the end of 2009, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Sprint [PALM 7.36 -0.27 (-3.54%) ], which also reported a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday, saw its shares rise leap almost 20 percent to $3.25 Thursday.

The person, who asked not to be named, said the exclusivity period for the phone lasts at least through the end of 2009. The person did not comment beyond this year.

Neither Sprint nor Palm have not announced how long the exclusivity period would last for the touchscreen phone, due to go on sale in the first half of the year.

The device, viewed as a potentially strong competitor to Apple’s [AAPL 90.64 -3.73 (-3.95%) ] iPhone, is expected to help Sprint in its efforts stem customer losses.

Many analysts see the Pre as Palm’s best chance to improve its weak market position as it has been losing customers to iPhone and BlackBerry from Research In Motion [RIMM 42.09 -0.01 (-0.02%) ].

When the Pre was announced in January, some analysts were disappointed that Sprint would be the exclusive provider because the No. 3 U.S. mobile operator has been losing customers to rivals for the last few years.

Palm shares [PALM 7.36 -0.27 (-3.54%) ] were down over 2 percent after the news.

Source: cnbc

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