Palm orders layoffs as Apple and RIM take toll

The job cuts come as Palm works to get its next-generation operating system ready to compete with Apple, RIM, and the rest of the smartphone market in 2009.

Faced with strong competition from Apple and Research In Motion , as well as economic headwinds, Palm has decided to lay off some workers.

Valleywag reported that the layoffs could involve as many as 10 percent of the company's 1,050 employees. A Palm representative confirmed that layoffs were taking place but did not comment on exactly how many people were affected.

"There have been some layoffs as a result of challenges facing our company and the industry, and we're restructuring our worldwide operations to better position ourselves for profitability and long-term growth," said Lynn Fox, a Palm spokeswoman. She declined to comment on exactly where the cuts would come, but she said Palm has decided to "focus our efforts more effectively."

The layoffs will have no bearing on Palm's plans to release a new operating system next year , Fox said. Palm has been working on a Linux-based mobile operating system with which the company desperately needs to replace the aging Palm OS. The company expects to finalize that operating system this year, and release products featuring the software in the first half of next year.

It has been a rough couple of years for Palm, which has been losing money consistently for quite some time, as Apple and RIM have come to dominate the U.S. smartphone market. The mobile-computing pioneer has managed to stay relevant with the public by releasing the Palm Centro, but it doesn't appear to be making very much money on the sale of each $99 Centro.

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    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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