Sprint breaks sales records, looks to keep Pre momentum going

Following the release of the new iPhone, Sprint Nextel now must work to maintain the momentum behind its Palm Pre.

The carrier said that its Saturday launch of the Pre broke company sales records for a first day and first weekend. Sprint did not disclose exact sales figures, but Tim Donahue, Sprint's vice president of business marketing, said that the launch exceeded expectations. Various analysts pegged weekend sales between 50,000 and 200,000 units.

The challenge for Sprint now is to keep supplies of the Pre flowing and to maintain buzz, which it is trying to do through a new advertising campaign. The carrier is touting the Pre's ability to multitask--likely a knock to the iPhone, which does not multitask.

Further, it appears Palm is working to please new Pre owners. The company issued a new software update that, according to ITProPortal.com, promises better stability along with some new apps, including an alarm clock.

Nonetheless, Palm and Sprint have their work cut out; Palm's stock dropped by almost $2 per share over the weekend and through the release of the new iPhone 3G S, but seems to have leveled off at around $12 per share in trading today. Sprint Nextel's shares followed a similar track, and now hover at around $5 per share.

Meanwhile, a new report in the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, said that Verizon Wireless will be launching the Pre in its stores in January 2010.

The tussle over when Sprint's exclusivity for the Pre runs out came up at a Pre launch event in New York City last week. In an interview with CNET, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said, "They need to check their facts," referring to Verizon. "That just is not the case. Both Palm and Sprint have agreed not to discuss the length of the exclusivity deal. But I can tell you it's not six months."

Sprint has maintained that it has exclusive rights to sell the Pre in the United States at least through 2009.

For more:
- see this Cnetarticle
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this WSJ blog (sub. req.)
- see this WSJ article on the Pre ads (sub. req.)
- see this ITProPortal.com post

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