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Palm Pre: Is It Exclusive to Sprint Or Not?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 28, 2009

For months now, Sprint Nextel has been drumming up publicity for the soon-to-be-launched Palm Pre smartphone. Due to go on sale on June 6, the phone was supposed to be exclusive to Sprint, and to help the wireless carrier combat rivals and stem subscriber losses. Subscribers have been leaving Sprint for months, attracted by rival carriers’ flashy handset line-ups.

What’s unclear is just how long Sprint has an exclusive for the Palm Pre for. Presenting at a conference, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam has just announced a number of new devices to be available from the carrier “over the next six months or so” — and they include the Palm Pre. “With general expectations for a Palm Pre exclusive at Sprint through the holidays, VZW’s comments that it will have the Pre on its network is likely to be the most surprising,” UBS analyst Maynard Um wrote in a May 28 research note.

But Sprint spokesman James Fisher has just told me that the Pre is exclusive to the carrier “at least through 2009.”

Are you confused yet? I know that I am. Either Verizon Wireless or Sprint Nextel might have gotten their messages with Palm crossed.

Clearly, it would be to Sprint’s advantage to keep an exclusive to the Pre throughout the holiday season. That way, Sprint will be armed with the Pre for this summer, when AT&T is expected to launch new models of the best-selling iPhone smartphone. And it will be ready to compete with rivals during the holiday season, when most Americans still buy their phones. Palm’s shares have rallied 10.5%, to $11.64 so far on the news. Sprint’s have remained stable.

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Reader Comments


May 28, 2009 03:43 PM

When (if ever) is the iPhone coming to Sprint??


May 29, 2009 02:39 PM

Colin, I don't think the iphone's coming to Spring. Last I heard that Verizon might carry a version of it.

As for the Palm Pre, Sprint was supposed to carry it all along. On the other hand Palm needs to revive its business so the more carriers that carry it, the better.


May 31, 2009 02:46 PM

simple. the iPhone is never going to Sprint. ever. Apple isn't dumb enough to go in with a company with the worst customer service in the world.


May 31, 2009 09:57 PM

AT&T has a 5 year exclusive contract for the iPhone with Apple. This isn't going to change. Don't expect to get an iPhone from anyone else until July of 2011 - at the earliest. I wouldn't be surprised if AT&T does everything it can to maintain it's exclusive contract with Apple.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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