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More layoffs on tap at Palm

The struggling handheld giant announces that it will lay off more workers this summer, after cutting 300 jobs in late April.

Struggling handheld giant Palm announced Friday that it will lay off more workers this summer.

Palm said it will make additional cuts to its work force in its first fiscal quarter, which begins Saturday, to bring its cost structure closer in line with business conditions.

In late April, Palm said, it cut about 300 permanent and contract workers--nearly 16 percent of its work force. When it originally announced the layoffs in March, the company said it would cut about 250 jobs, or 10 percent to 15 percent of its work force. Before the cuts, the company employed about 1,500 permanent and 400 contract workers.

The company will offer more details about the new layoffs when it announces fourth-quarter results during the week of June 25.

Palm spokeswoman Marlene Somsak said the company decided to announce the layoffs Friday in order to take the charge against its fourth-quarter results. Palm did not release the number of layoffs yet, she said, because "it's not completely, 100 percent finalized."

In mid-May, Palm warned that revenue in its fourth quarter would come in at roughly half its previous forecast, which had already been sharply curtailed. The company also announced that, through mutual agreement, it would not acquire Extended Systems.

On Thursday, Extended Systems said it will lay off 15 percent of its workers as a result of the scuttled deal with Palm.

Palm also said Friday that it has hired Todd Bradley, former executive vice president of global operations at PC maker Gateway, as the new executive vice president and chief operating officer for its Solutions group. Bradley was one of five top executives that Gateway ousted in January during a shake-up that returned Ted Waitt as CEO of the company he founded.

When the Extended Systems acquisition was on tap, Palm was planning to create three groups: Enterprise Solutions, Individual Solutions and Platform Solutions. Instead, Palm will be divided into two groups: Solutions and Platform. The Solutions group will focus on handhelds for the consumer, business and education markets; the Platform group will handle the licensing of the Palm operating system.

Although the company doesn't have an overall chief operating officer, Somsak said the group Bradley will head accounts for 97 percent of Palm's business.