Palm hopes Jordan edition is a slam-dunk
By Ian Fried
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
June 14, 2001, 3:50 p.m. PT
As basketball fans continue to wonder “will he or won’t he,” Michael Jordan has made a decision: He will hawk his own Palm handheld.
The basketball superstar and Palm plan to announce on Monday a Jordan-edition Palm, sources told CNET News.com. However, the sources had no idea whether Jordan will decide to attempt an NBA comeback–an issue that has been of far greater concern to basketball fans.
Palm, like the Washington Wizards, could use a little of Jordan’s winning ways. The handheld maker has been struggling with slowing sales, a glut of its gear and dwindling cash.
As previously reported, Jordan inked a three-year deal earlier this year for his likeness to be used on a handheld using the Palm operating system. The deal is with PTN Media, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company that brought out the Claudia Schiffer edition Palm.
Under the terms of the deal signed Jan. 4, Jordan will receive 12 percent of the sales, or a minimum of $3.5 million over the three years, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Although many details of the handheld were not immediately available, the Jordan-edition Palm is expected to come with its own software, as the Schiffer model does.
One analyst was skeptical of the move.
“Obviously, there is a niche appeal to these devices,” Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds said. However, Reynolds also pointed out that there are costs of customizing the device, as well as the risk of having inventory in yet another model should Palm overestimate the demand.
“I don’t feel it’s going to add significantly to their bottom line,” Reynolds said. “They need to find other ways to grow market share.”