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Comments on: Mace: Lessons from the Fall of Palm

Michael Mace editorial Former Palm/PalmSource chief completive guy, Michael Mace, has once again put on his punditry hat to chime in on his former employers latest misfortunes. In his latest editorial Mr. Mace aims to give us his take on the situation Palm finds itself in today.

He begins with a bold conjecture that "the current incarnation of Palm has failed." From there he takes readers on a tour of the current sentiment on Palm in the valley and beyond, then approaches the question whether it was marketing or lack of thoughtful marketing focus that doomed them this time. All in all its a good read with some interesting points from someone who had a front row seat for many of Palm's corporate blunders from the last decade.

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Link?

questionfear @ 4/19/2010 11:14:40 AM # Q
Is it just me or is there no link to the editorial itself?
RE: Link?
gmayhak @ 4/19/2010 11:34:30 AM # Q
probably here... http://mobileopportunity.blogspot.com/
Tech Center Labs
RE: Link?
Ryan @ 4/19/2010 11:38:58 AM # M Q
Whoops, thanks for catching that. Updated with a direct link.
Reply to this comment

nice leadership skills mace has

ardiri @ 4/19/2010 11:39:22 AM # Q
... instead of providing advice or suggestions - he's pretty quick to bad mouth the whole situation. nice guy hey? who cares what palm is doing, and how they are running - as long as they are in business, they gotta be doing something right. if they screw up - they'll go bankrupt. simple as that. thanks for spamming the internet with useless comments mike, not even constructive criticsm here.
--
Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer
RE: nice leadership skills mace has
Michael Mace @ 4/19/2010 5:17:16 PM # Q
Hey, Aaron.

In my post I was focusing on things that other companies could learn from Palm's situation, not on giving advice to Palm itself. Once a company has put itself up for sale, it's usually not very interested in getting advice (unless the advice is from a financial analyst).

Sorry for the confusion.

Mike

RE: nice leadership skills mace has
mikecane @ 4/19/2010 5:53:56 PM # Q
Palm Foleo: It's a PC, dummy
http://mobileopportunity.blogspot.com/2007/05/palm-foleo-its-pc-dummy.html

>>>More to the point, Foleo is the most significant new consumer PC platform introduced in the US since the Macintosh.

kthxbai

RE: nice leadership skills mace has
ardiri @ 4/19/2010 11:20:00 PM # Q
hi mike,

thanks for responding - i wasn't intending to sound so harsh, in fact, after i posted and re-read it i was wondering why after all these years there is no edit button on PIC :)

overall; i understand people are frustrated with palm over the years, but they have been forced to adapt and change within the market. bad leadership? bad products? bad timing? probably all of the above. in the end - they still have a device that still is on the market and they are actively supporting it. palm has survived for almost 15 years now in this space (ok, 13 :P) and over the years i have seen companies come and go.

i must admit; getting hold of a palm pre for development purposes wasn't easy; so things are different from back in 2001 when we used to get freebies and encouragement to develop.. but i actually like the palm pre, now i have it. sure, there are some "potential" hardware issues, but as an operating system, it is paramount compared to android and iphone, people who play with my palm pre are amazed at it's simplicity and ease of use. they did something right somewhere along the way.

i would personally like to see Palm make some internal changes, which i know they are in the process of doing - so they can clean up the mess they have found themselves in. i have always been a Palm guy, from day 1 - so, there is a small amount of loyalty in me there. it isn't the same team as before though.

there are a few companies on this earth i would refuse to work for, namely apple, microsoft, google - but Palm i would consider, i think they have something that is too good to waste and throw away and i would invest my career on it. if you are a developer, why not check out the Palm Developer Day that is scheduled for April 24 (native development), i will be speaking at the event and it would be good to meet up with a few of you.

PS: @mikecane - i still have my Foleo somewhere :) i loved that unit.
--
Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer

RE: nice leadership skills mace has
heavyduty @ 4/20/2010 1:32:59 AM # Q
@aaron

More than harsh, it sounded defensive and above all fanboy-ish. But to be fair, you admit to that yourself.

If Palm is still in this business it is not as much because they are "doing something right", but because of the the things they *used* to do right for the first 5-6 years of their existence, with the brand name they created and the loyal following they gathered back then (and subsequently lost as Michael correctly notes in his post, which overall was quite correct).


But if you want/need "advice" or "suggestions" in order to accept some fair arguments (including the ones from M.Mace), I have a couple of them for you:

2. If you are so interested in working for Palm just send them your resume instead of winking at them on a public forum.

1. Try capitalizing your sentences, as all lower case looks just as bad, unprofessional and annoying as ALL CAPS.

RE: nice leadership skills mace has
ardiri @ 4/20/2010 6:12:43 AM # Q
@heavyduty

fanboy - definitely not, i've developed for almost every platform out there, some never made it to market, some are doing well (iphone, android et al). web os is just another notch in my belt from my perspective. my comment was nasty.. i admit it, i'm a grown man - no hard feelings. maybe i've seen too much bashing lately on this topic.

brand - they have more than brand holding them together, i lost contact with most of the high management after the palm/palmsource split up (kept contact with the palmsource guys) but i cannot evaluate the new managements performance first hand, but it doesn't look like it has been executed perfectly (but, who can predict anything)?

employment - my point was not to be hired, but to show that there is still potential within the company that can yet to be yielded, i'll have plenty of time to talk to people in sunnyvale when i am there if that is something i am interested in.

capitalization - i'm lazy, it is too much of a stretch for my pinky to reach for the shift key. but which is worse? all caps or all lower caps? i could just press the shift-lock before i type away :)
--
Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer

RE: nice leadership skills mace has
e_tellurian @ 4/20/2010 8:32:11 AM # Q
That was kind to apologize.

i am sure Palm did not spend the time and resources over the many years to be an example of failure. Let's hope others will see the good Palm has done such as raising the bar and pushing the envelope of development and innovation.

Palm's pioneering presence has helped to build a successful industry too. Let's hope people will choose to apologize to Palm too.

E-T


e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

RE: nice leadership skills mace has
Michael Mace @ 4/20/2010 9:42:56 AM # Q
Hi, Aaron.

Thanks; that's really nice of you. I remember how passionate you were about the Palm platform back when I worked there, and how hard you tried to help. I respected that then, and I still respect it today.

I think we're both frustrated by the current situation.

Mike

RE: nice leadership skills mace has
e_tellurian @ 4/20/2010 12:40:24 PM # Q
Well you were right mace has nice leadership skills.

To build the best of Palm past, present and future will require the i in innovation as team work does not have an i.

Making and keeping friends in tough times is not easy, it is nice to see the effort. Good history is worth hanging on to.

E-T
e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

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Is Palm is still in business?

e_tellurian @ 4/19/2010 5:52:00 PM # Q
To my understanding Palm can only fall if people give up. Perhaps Palm was not supposed to be around at this time, however, they are.

A signature Palm Classic and Signature Palm Jewel can offer more for Palm to do. Seeing as they are still around it would be nice to seek ways to enhance Palms value other than putting them up for sale. i see Palm as a live and vibrant enterprise with tremendous value that needs to be unlocked.

If Palm is for sale then we need to assure the Palm brand stays an independent premium North American brand that has a history of building quality offerings. However,if we do that then there is no need to let Palm fall.

It is good to learn from the past to enhance the present and future. The fact is Palm is still alive. Are some expressing themselves as though Palm does not exist?

Palm is alive they have not fallen.

Just some thoughts to kick around.

E-T
e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

RE: Is Palm is still in business?
gmayhak @ 4/19/2010 7:44:52 PM # Q
E-T, you're not getting it. There is no market for Palm Classic any more, the world's moved on. There is no market for WebOS because they 'launched' it half baked so it was rejected. If you gold plate a turd and stick some jewels on it, what do you have?
Tech Center Labs
RE: Is Palm is still in business?
e_tellurian @ 4/19/2010 8:35:30 PM # Q
:-(lol)

i understand that if Palm is still an entity then those that see the hidden value in Palm keep going until Palm has no purpose. Not all people have rejected Palm. People in France and Germany and elsewhere around the world still want Palm. Palm will continue to push the envelope of innovation as long as the will of the people want Palm.

Ah if the turd comes from a goose then it is a golden egg.

E-T


e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

RE: Is Palm is still in business?
jca666us @ 4/19/2010 9:23:50 PM # Q
e-t - the point - like most of your posts - is that a turd is a turd is a turd - regardless of how you dress it up.
RE: Is Palm is still in business?
e_tellurian @ 4/19/2010 9:49:24 PM # Q
:-(lol)

Do we really have to debate a turd? We must have more pressing things to talk about.

The goose laid the golden egg it did not lay golden turd. Turd is a good fertilizer and and fertilizer helps growth.

The point was Palm has much value to grow. Some see that value being grown by turd and others do not. We simply agree to disagree.

E-T
e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

Reply to this comment

What did Palm do best?

vetdoctor @ 4/19/2010 8:41:23 PM # Q
Organize...that's how they started. I wonder if a phone that had a gee-wiz calendar, easy to search/organize contacts and a powerful note program would have succeeded? Robust email (how hard cant that be, really?) and maybe document handling would have put it as competition to the blackberry. True multitask (I can talk and email at the same time) would have pulled many iphoners. Would everyone have insisted on a camera, jukebox and webbrowser better than the iphone? We will never know.
In short, I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought that perhaps it involved a magician.
- Chesterton
RE: What did Palm do best?
e_tellurian @ 4/19/2010 9:08:07 PM # Q
"We will never know."

Depends who you are listening too. There are those that believe Palm will fall, there are those that wish Palm would fall and there are those think Palm will survive. Who will you choose to listen to?

E-T
e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

RE: What did Palm do best?
ssid12 @ 4/20/2010 12:26:33 AM # Q
Enough nashing of teeth...
I predict 1 or 2 brand new, jaw dropping top-end WebOS devices by June/July. These devices will ultimately decide the fate of Palm.

If anyone at Palm is listening... give me an OLED big screen, supercharged (1Ghz Snapdragon at least) Palm Pre (give or take the keyboard), with forward facing camera sold in 16GB or 32GB flavors.

Then for the home run, a tablet running WebOS, stick a SD card slot in it, with front facing camera for videoconferencing and to top it off a HDMI out...
IF YOU DO THIS, even Mike Cane and SV will buy one. If ever an OS was made for a tablet, it is webOS. ACT. NOW.


RE: What did Palm do best?
mikecane @ 4/20/2010 1:27:41 PM # Q
>>>IF YOU DO THIS, even Mike Cane and SV will buy one.

Tablet, yes -- IF it can do AVI DiVX/XViD video. Why would I want the same damned 3GP/MP4 limitation of the iPad/iPhone and vanilla (ie, NON-Archos) Android?

Phone? Probably not.

RE: What did Palm do best?
hkklife @ 4/20/2010 1:35:04 PM # Q
According to those who have supposedly seen or spoken to pepole in the know, the next WebOS device is the C40 and will debut on Sprint. It will supposedly have a bigger (no word on specific size), "better" (no confirmation of OLED) screen, a physical keyboard, still utilize the slider design, and will be thinner and better built. It may or may not have WiMax (reports are very contradictory on this). It will also supposedly run a "new version" of WebOS--whether that means 1.4.x or 1.5.x or 2.x is of course totally unknown.


Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid + Verizon Palm Centro

RE: What did Palm do best?
mikecane @ 4/20/2010 5:52:03 PM # Q
And what is the alleged CPU of this mythical C40 (which sounds like a damned malt liquor in a hood)?
RE: What did Palm do best?
e_tellurian @ 4/20/2010 6:42:12 PM # Q
What Palm does best is keep its nose to the grind stone suck it up when things get a little tough. They come together and encourage those that have the ability to move the enterprise forward while ignoring those that bet against its success.

There is an element of the North American economy that is able to makes money from betting against North American enterprise success http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_(finance) The way to compete with such issues is to build innovative products such as Palm has done for many years setting the bar higher each time.

E-T


e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

RE: What did Palm do best?
e_tellurian @ 4/20/2010 6:45:42 PM # Q
Are finance derivative betting against Palm?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_(finance)

E-T
e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

RE: What did Palm do best?
hkklife @ 4/20/2010 7:42:40 PM # Q
Mike;

Also unknown, though *someone* on one of the forums said 1Ghz Snapdragon. Of course, that's an easy B.S. guess to make since it's the high-end phone CPU du jour as of late, but I mean, I would certainly *HOPE* that to be the case!

In all honesty, if we take all of the latest rumors to be gospel, then we might be looking at something like a Pre + HTC Incredible hybrid device. Perhaps Palm is again working alongside HTC (and HTC is also paying verrrry close attention to how it goes with Palm in case of a possible WebOS licensing deal and/or future buyout?)
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid + Verizon Palm Centro

RE: What did Palm do best?
gmayhak @ 4/20/2010 7:55:06 PM # Q
Kris, If there is a cool C40 in the works why would they put the company up for sale? It seems to me that EP would kick in more cash if there was anything besides smoke.

Gary
Tech Center Labs

RE: What did Palm do best?
e_tellurian @ 4/20/2010 8:33:35 PM # Q
The sale of Palm and Palm's focus on innovation are two separate things. Palm is a brand that keeps going regardless of who owns it. The C40 would be a continuation of Palm's work and the sale, with lack of focus, can become a distraction from achieving ones goal.

It would be ideal if Palm stayed a North America pioneering brand, profitable to the investor, that continues to raise the bar. Such an enterprise as Palm is good for North America and those that have been part of building an industry Palm helped pioneer.

E-T


e-tellurian

Completing the e-com circle with a people driven we-com solution
WiFi & BT? No strings attached
we_tellurian@canada.com

RE: What did Palm do best?
Tuckermaclain @ 4/23/2010 8:07:03 AM # Q
Palm let the masses move from their big leather planners to little PDAs in a very dramatic fashion. PIM took a big jump forward. It was a huge leap. Nothing bigger since. Like having your own secretary. Evolving into a handheld computer with a Zen-like interface was beautiful. The first HandSpring phone was the absolute zenith of the concept--the father of all things Android and iPhone. Nobody has done anything like this since.
Reply to this comment

More irony from Michael *Two Face* Mace

Fake Jeff Hawkins @ 4/21/2010 8:30:28 AM # Q
Who sat around at PalmSource like pile of elephant dung collecting an fat paychheck for doing precisely NOTHING all day?

Two Face Mace.

Who has shown - with stunning consistency - that he doesn't have the foggiest idea where tech innovations are leading? Wrong Wild Assed Guess after Wrong Wild Assed Guess.

Two Face Mace.

Who needs to STFU in his glass house?

Two Face Mace.

RE: More irony from Michael *Two Face* Mace
Tuckermaclain @ 4/23/2010 8:14:09 AM # Q
TVoR--I'm glad you're back. You totally crack me up. You are the only poster that makes me laugh. I wonder where you get all the insider info. You remind me of one of my favorites, Lewis Black
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Question for Mike Mace:

Tuckermaclain @ 4/22/2010 8:57:44 AM # Q
Nice to see you and Aaron at the forum. Gives it a real feeling of being a top place for Palm info. My question is this: Do any people at Palm actually look at these forums (PIC, Brighthand, TreoCentral) and consider suggestions/ complaints and take them back to Palm? Seems like if they followed what was suggested here they would have had an iPhone years before Apple. The company would be very healthy now. Just wondering.
RE: Question for Mike Mace:
hkklife @ 4/22/2010 9:35:17 AM # Q
Tucler;

I'm not Mr. Mace but I do recall about 2 years someone claiming to have insider knowledge saying that yes, Palm staffers DO read these sites. However, they just mostly use these forums/fan-sites for entertainment/amusement purposes and don't take the ranting & raving of madmen clining to dead OSes & archaic hardware (such as PDAs) seriously.

Palm would MUCH rather score a sale from a bottom-feeder, fickle, 20-something social networking hipster who Tweets, Facebooks, and flash mobs and has no knowledge of any tech that existed prior to 2005 than they would, say, a nerdy, "hardware guy" 40 year old who has owned a Palm device since the original Pilot, doesn't care for the cloud, and still pines for Graffiti 1, and actually cares about PIM functionality.

Palm's (and most other tech companies') current target audience is something akin to these boyz. , Mind you, I don't feel this is an inherently bad thing but it just seems to be a very poor way to cultivate any brand loyalty at all (unless you're Apple):
http://blog.palm.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/10/01/img_00181.jpg
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid + Verizon Palm Centro

RE: Question for Mike Mace:
Michael Mace @ 4/22/2010 8:47:53 PM # Q
When I was at Palm and PalmSource, several of us used to read the Palm discussion sites (and the ones for competitors) pretty regularly. But it's been years since I worked there, so I have no idea what the company does today.

I can give you a general answer for how Silicon Valley views online forums, though. Most companies keep track of what's said on forums that discuss their products, but different companies do different things with the information. For example, some companies treat online forums like a marketing tool -- a place to sell to you and to keep track of which messages go over best.

Some companies use forums as an early warning system to track quality issues. Chances are that if there's a bug in a product, some of the first reports about it will show up among the power users online.

And some companies do use online forums to get product ideas. But many of them are very cautious about that because (and please don't take offense at this) the folks who are highly motivated to post on forums don't necessarily think the same way as the average customer. When I was at Palm, for example, we found that many of our best-selling products were the least popular ones on the forums.

hkklife, I think you're right about the customer target for many tech companies, although obviously I can't speak for Palm. And I, too, pine for Graffiti 1.

RE: Question for Mike Mace:
hkklife @ 4/22/2010 11:04:46 PM # Q
Yes, Michael, I still reach for a nonexistant stylus at least once or twice a week on my Droid and then sign when I remember the glory days of Graffiti 1. I'm still pisse that after 7+ straight years on dozens of handhelds with Graffiti 1 Palm immediately switched over to G2 without offering their users a choice or say in the matter. Heck, they didn't even give us a good reason WHY they were switching or try to gauge the interest level of the community in keeping G1 alive.

Xerox also lost out on a nice bit of $ by not working out a reasonable licensing agreement to put the G1 libs in some kin of plugin or add-on. I'd have gladly paid $10 or $15 or so for a rock-solid G1 app to replace the stock G2, especially in the 320x480 era. Yep, Graffiti was a pain to master but was fantastic once you became adept at it. Virtual keyboards have improved *somewhat* and Swype is pretty nifty but I still miss the detail afforded by a stylus (or at least a trackball or d-pad for text selection).

Speaking of G1, to this day I still miss my Tungsten T in particular. It had a great stylus and a processor that was speedy enough to never lag or miss character strokes. What a shame that was Palm's only OS5 device to ever have Graffiti 1 standard! The hacked G1 libraries on a T2 or T3 were nice but a bit flaky. It's amusing to see folks oohing and aahing over something as basic as the Google's gesture search app in Android. Heck, we were doing upward swipes to bring up a virtual keyboard in 1996! Who needs multitouch?!?
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid + Verizon Palm Centro

RE: Question for Mike Mace:
mikecane @ 4/23/2010 3:55:42 PM # Q
Lose the Power User, lose the company.

That's Palm's epitaph right there.

Latest rumor is that Rubenstein might be able to go back to his hammock.

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