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RealTime IT News

Palm Says Lead in Europe Increases

Palm, Inc. , which once owned an overwhelming market share for its handhelds throughout the world but has been losing ground in the last two years, insisted Thursday that its position in Europe actually is improving.

The company is still the leading handheld brand worldwide despite significant slippage of its market share, particularly in the last year. However, the company cited a study by European market research firm GfK Group that claims Palm-branded handhelds increased their share of the European handheld market in December and January.

Specifically, the study gave Palm-branded handhelds a 42.5 percent market share, which was thirty points higher than its nearest competitor. That represents a market share increase of 4.4 percent compared to the previous two months, Palm claimed.

"For the last six months, the GfK results have shown our European market position steadily growing, an indication of the increasing popularity of Palm handhelds throughout Europe," said Laurence Clavere, Palm's senior director of marketing in Europe.

The findings are consistent with a host of other market share studies that show that Palm still maintains a worldwide lead even though it has lost significant market share. For example, a study released in February by Gartner Dataquest found that Palm holds a 38.6 percent worldwide market share in 2001, far exceeding its nearest competitor Handspring, which had a 12.6 percent market share.

Part of Palm's declining market share is due to competition that it created. Handspring devices, for instance, are based on the Palm OS and have taken significant market share points from Palm. However, some of the recent competition is less welcome by the Santa Clara, California-based company. Specifically, handhelds based on Microsoft's Pocket PC platform continue to slowly gain market share, with Compaq's iPAQ approaching 10 percent worldwide, according to most studies.

Two years ago, before the emergence of Pocket PC and Handspring , Palm had a worldwide market share of more than 80 percent. In addition, it had a particularly dismal 2001 as handheld sales flattened and it executed poorly, flooding the channel with products that were slow to sell.