Palm Touts Microsoft Alliance

Includes: BBRY, MSFT, PALM
by: David Jackson

On his conference call Thursday, Palm CEO Edward Colligan gushed about Palm's (PALM) relationship with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). As you read the following quote, remember the days when Palms ran on their own software, and were regarded as proof that software-hardware integration from a single vendor -- like Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) products today -- was superior to the Wintel model. Research in Motion (RIMM) investors take note:

The Treo 750V is built upon the Microsoft Windows mobile operating system, specifically the Pocket PC edition, so it is extremely capable as an enterprise solution with the added benefit of the Palm experience.

That is much of why Microsoft will accord the Treo 750V “hero status” in extensive advertising efforts across Europe, where Windows is clearly the favored platform.

Microsoft is marketing the new Treo to their Exchange Serve 2003 customers. In Europe, about 80% of which we understand have deployed service pack two. A Treo in those business environments means free, secure, real-time push e-mail without the need for additional middleware.

Although we expect the Microsoft solution will appeal generally to the European market, a key attribute of Palm solutions is that we offer customers choice. With the Treo 750V, customers can deploy Microsoft’s push e-mail, use Vodafone’s Visto e-mail, or take advantage of RIMS’ BlackBerry Connect.

Together, Vodafone, Microsoft and Palm will spend nearly $30 million to market the Treo 750V. We believe these and other marketing activities will build brand awareness, Smartphone awareness, and preference for Palm and Treo in Europe, similar to what we enjoy today in the U.S.

Our strategic partnership with Vodafone and Microsoft for this European product represents the latest salvo in our drive for European market share. We started this initiative by appointing new worldwide leadership and regional management for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. We followed with a realignment of our marketing and distribution partners to favor carriers and to focus on Smartphones. We opened a European engineering center in Dublin to collaborate closely with European carriers, and we worked to build and expand relationships with the biggest of those carriers.

The culmination of our work leading to the launch with Vodafone and Microsoft for the Treo 750V represents a major milestone for this company, and we will have additional significant news later this year.

The full Palm conference call transcript is here, and more opinion and analysis of Palm's stock here.