I realize I come off as a total Apple shill 99% of the time, but that’s because I believe that Apple creates superior products. There was a time when Palm was also one of those companies. Because of its reluctance to adjust the value proposition of its PIM to the needs of consumers combined with some poor strategic decisions *cough* WinMo *cough*, they went from a company to watch to a company on deathwatch. With the release of the Palm Pre comes a new era: Jon Rubinstein will add CEO to his role as Chairman. Ed “Cyanide Capsule” Colligan will step down after 16 years.
Palm may be too far gone for Jon to save. His company has been hemorrhaging money – most recently to get the Pre to market. The bleeding has necessitated a transfusion: the private equity firm Elevation Partners shot up Palm to the tune of $325 million – a 27% stake. It sucks to have an staking millstone hanging around your company’s neck. When that millstone is warming a seat for the person that ran your company into the ground (Colligan’s next move is to join Elevation) – well that really blows. At least the Pre gives the company its best chance: a great product. That’s not always enough‚ but if Apple – and Rubinstein – have taught the consumer electronics industry anything‚ it’s that you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a great product to save a company.
I tip my cap to the man responsible for the iPod – and to the man who brought creativity back to Palm. I wish him all the best.