Palm cuts more jobs

Palm Inc. laid off about 50 people at its hardware unit on Thursday in response to declining demand for handheld computers, a company spokesperson said Friday.

The cuts bring the total workforce reduction at the hardware part of Palm, the Palm Solutions Group, to just over 100 jobs in the third quarter of the company’s fiscal year 2003, which ends Friday, the spokesperson said.

Combined with the layoffs announced earlier at operating system subsidiary PalmSource Inc., the cutbacks over the past three months amount to about 19 per cent of the total combined workforce, the spokesperson said. Palm now employs around 900 people, she said. That compares with 1,124 on Nov. 29, 2002, the last day of the second quarter of Palm’s fiscal year 2003, according to Palm’s Web site.

PalmSource Inc., which is being spun off from Palm Inc., earlier this month said it reduced its headcount by 18 per cent without giving any further numbers.

Palm has been restructuring heavily as it faces a depressed market. The worldwide PDA (personal digital assistant) market saw its first-ever decline in 2002 with shipments down over nine per cent from 2001, research firm Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Inc., said earlier this month.

For the three months ended Nov. 29, 2002, Palm reported a net profit of US$3.52 million on revenue of US$264.9 million, according to the company’s Web site. Palm is scheduled to release its third fiscal quarter earnings on March 20.