Palm Raises $360m As Amazon Stocks Pre

O2 might be launching Palm's smartphone, the Pre, in three weeks time but this hasn't prevented the beleaguered handset manufacturer from raising $360 million in a public stock offering.

Although this caused the company's shares to fall by nearly five percent, the 20 million or so shares that were offered for $16.25 each showed that there is still faith from investors that Palm will do better.

According to Moconews, Palm may use the cash inflow for "working capital and general corporate purposes". The website also raised the possibility that the Pre manufacturer might be the target of an unsolicited acquisition attempt.

With a market capitalisation of $2.3 billion, Palm could be a potential prey for the likes of Nokia, Dell, Motorola or even HP.

In other news, Amazon has also started selling the Pre through its mobile phone department (ed: they should do it in the UK). The online retailer lists the Pre for $99.99 with a new two-year service plan from Sprint, a discount of $400 compared to the PAYG version.

Amazon has also managed to drive down the price of the Pre Touchstone charging dock which is selling for $35 which is nearly half what O2 will charge for the same item in the UK.

The phone is currently eighth on Amazon's list of best sellers, stuck behind five (yes, five) Blackberry smartphones and two Samsung handsets.

Our Comments

Palm is set to have a rather torrid winter with the first launch of the Pre outside the US. It will go head to head against the iPhone 3G at O2. The Pre will also face a number of just released competitors and new ones which will appear in November. All in all, the fact that the smartphone came in the UK nine months after it was first launched doesn't make things easier.

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