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Comments on: Palm CEO Claims to Have Never Used an iPhone

palm ces interview wsj ruby iphone In an interview at CES last week Palm's CEO made some eye raising remarks about his former employer that have caused more than a few industry watchers to do a double take. When asked directly about how Palm viewed the competition with Apple, Jon Rubinstein told WSJ's Kara Swisher that he "doesn't pay much attention to Apple" and he went on to further proclaim "I don't have an iPhone. Actually, I've never used one."

Ruby's frank subterfuge on Apple is obviously getting the most play in the blogosphere, however he did make some other comments that reflect his current thinking on the status of Palm Inc., webOS and their overall progress. In the thirty minute interview he also talks about the plan for Palm's resurgence and the foundations they have built with webOS. He muses about how the past two year period has been all about the company's transition, while he looks ahead at this year as the transformational one.

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Ruby: I've Never Used an iPhone

Gekko @ 1/10/2010 9:20:22 AM # Q
How does Palm (PALM) view Apple (AAPL)?

"We don't pay that much attention to Apple….I know it sounds really strange," says Rubinstein.

"Really?" Kara replies. "You don't worry about the iPhone?"

"No, I really don't," Rubinstein answers.

"I don't believe you," says Kara, telegraphing a sentiment I imagine is widely held among the audience. Rubinstein is sometimes referred to as "the father of the iPod." Hard to imagine he doesn't have at least a passing interest in the evolution of the device he helped create.

Rubinstein: "I don't have an iPhone. I've never even used one."

http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20100108/rubinstein/

RE: Ruby: I've Never Used an iPhone
jca666us @ 1/10/2010 12:07:06 PM # M Q
that illustrates that ruby is clueless about the competition - a bad quality for a CEO.

It also demonstrates that Ruby can't think on his feet.

That question was a perfect opening for him to say, "I've seen and used the iPhone; it's a good device, but here's where the Pre provides a superior user experience..."

Neither quality is a desirable one in a CEO.

BTW, considering the ongoing iTunes hack - I'm certain that even if Ruby hasn't seen or used an iPhone, his engineering staff has...lol!

RE: Ruby: I've Never Used an iPhone
mikecane @ 1/10/2010 2:38:11 PM # Q
This was news .... yesterday.

Palm's Jon Rubinstein Dives Into The Stupid Pool
http://ebooktest.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/palms-jon-rubinstein-dives-into-the-stupid-pool/

RE: Ruby: I've Never Used an iPhone
lebem @ 1/10/2010 4:41:04 PM # M Q
I can't defend Ruby's lack of thought in responding to the Apple question, it was certainly a lost opportunity as highlighted above. However, let's remember that outside of the generated buzz, that Palm, from last years announcement onward, has always held that they were not trying to go head-to-head w/the iPhone. I'm not going to weigh in on that position, merely out Ruby's response was a poor attempt at following the company line.

More interesting from the same article was Ruby's response to the question about a future WebOS based tablet. He seemed to very specifically leave that door open. Not saying that means one is impending, but it seems at the least the question of one has come up in Sunnyvale.

RE: Ruby: I've Never Used an iPhone
bhartman34 @ 1/11/2010 6:24:21 AM # Q
How did this comment get to be noteworthy? Would it've been better if he'd said, "We think about Apple all the time. They scare the sh*t out of us!"?

It seems obvious to me that WebOS has never had much to do with the Apple model. And you certainly can't compare the companies themselves, since Apple has several orders of magnitude more resources than Palm does.

About the only thing that Palm should be looking at Apple for guidance on is marketing. The Pre ad campaign with the creepy woman was more harmful to them than they realized.


RE: Ruby: I've Never Used an iPhone
abosco @ 1/11/2010 10:09:57 AM # M Q
It seems obvious to me that WebOS has never had much to do with the Apple model.

Multi-touch, flick gestures, iTunes integration, centralized app store, and onboard storage with no expansion. Those are distinct characteristics that the iPhone brought to the smartphone market that Palm currently mimics. To deny that they follow the Apple model is laughable. They are currently all trying to follow the Apple model because it has proven to be wildly successful.

RE: Ruby: I've Never Used an iPhone
Tuckermaclain @ 1/11/2010 10:16:09 AM # Q
Neither have I. I've never even held one in my hands.
RE: Ruby: I've Never Used an iPhone
SeldomVisitor @ 1/11/2010 11:21:16 AM # Q
Neither have I.

Then again, I'm not CEO of PALM.


RE: Ruby: I've Never Used an iPhone
bhartman34 @ 1/11/2010 11:04:00 PM # Q
abosco wrote:
It seems obvious to me that WebOS has never had much to do with the Apple model.

Multi-touch, flick gestures, iTunes integration, centralized app store, and onboard storage with no expansion. Those are distinct characteristics that the iPhone brought to the smartphone market that Palm currently mimics. To deny that they follow the Apple model is laughable.

1) Palm is moving away from a centralized app store. There are multiple ways to get an app on your WebOS phone right now.

2) Onboard storage with no expansion is a) not necessarily a good thing, and b) not a part of any "Apple model". It's simply the exclusion of a feature that many vendors before Apple (and after) have also excluded. To say that Palm is specifically emulating Apple in this as part of an overall strategy is a little bit silly.

3) iTunes integration was dropped. Personally, I don't think it should've been, for reasons we've discussed ad nauseum, but the fact of the matter is, Palm's adapted their strategy in that respect.

4) WebOS's flick gestures aren't anything like gestures you do on an iPhone. Not to mention the fact that touchscreen gestures are something Palm products had well before the iPhone or iPod Touch were gleams in Steve Jobs' eye. (You might remember a little thing called Graffiti.) When you're dealing with a touchscreen, there are only so many ways you can interact with it, so there are going to be some inevitable areas of similarity (e.g., multitouch), but that doesn't mean that Apple is being copied. It simply means that there are only so many ways you can do certain tasks. Pinching and zooming falls into that category, which is why you haven't heard much lately about Apple trying to sue Palm into oblivion (which they have the pockets to do).

I've used both, and frankly, using an iPhone is nothing at all like using a WebOS device, aside from the fact that they both have icons, use touchscreens, and have multitouch. Aside from the multitouch, those are all things that the Palm II had. And multitouch existed before the iPhone or iPod Touch. If you use an iPhone, for example, and then use a Pre, there's a learning curve involved in going from one to the other. Neither interface takes a rocket scientist to understand, but they're about as different as two touch-based interfaces could be.


They are currently all trying to follow the Apple model because it has proven to be wildly successful.

While the iPhone and iPod Touch have obviously proven to be successful, that in no way means that other companies are going to follow in lockstep with whatever they do and watch them like hawks. In the first place, doing what someone else has already done isn't the way to distinguish yourself (especially since the company you're emulating has a head start). Secondly, it's better to not follow exactly what another company does, because it blinds you to potential mistakes they've made.

The other thing I'd like to add is that I'm sure someone (or even multiple people) working at Palm have used the iPhone before, and studied it. What Rubenstein was asked is if he had. Palm may be a small company, but it's not a one-man show. The fact that the CEO hasn't used a product doesn't mean that the company as a whole is oblivious to it.

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Honest officer, only one drink

vetdoctor @ 1/11/2010 9:31:08 AM # Q
He must have hired Bill Clinton for his press secretary.
In short, I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought that perhaps it involved a magician.
- Chesterton
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dumb or lying

Gekko @ 1/11/2010 9:44:34 AM # Q

18. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy
and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a
hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy,
for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will
succumb in every battle.

http://www.chinapage.com/sunzi-e.html

RE: dumb or lying
mikecane @ 1/11/2010 1:14:19 PM # Q
OMG! A worthwhile and sensible Comment from Gekko. Are you feeling OK?
RE: dumb or lying
Gekko @ 1/11/2010 7:46:16 PM # Q

why don't you take my bait anymore?

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
- Sun Tzu, the Art of War

RE: dumb or lying
CFreymarc @ 1/11/2010 11:32:01 PM # Q
Honestly, this proves to me that Palm's leadership is not interested in the customers, they are mostly interested in selling to carriers and the carriers will sort it out.

From this, I have very low hope in any non-carrier connected webOS device.

RE: dumb or lying
StrawMan @ 1/12/2010 12:28:08 AM # Q
Ahh, the inevitable Art of War quote:

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a
hundred battles. ..."

知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆

But note, the quote is "know (the) other (enemy).."
NOT "use your enemy's spear".
The two things are very different.

learn to die well
Gekko @ 1/12/2010 4:18:27 PM # Q

"What if an opponent is more skilled or is stronger than myself?" "Find a way to defeat him." "If I can not?" "Then, my son, you must learn to die well." - E.M. Garcia

RE: learn to die well
DarthRepublican @ 1/12/2010 5:43:59 PM # Q
Gekko wrote:

"What if an opponent is more skilled or is stronger than myself?" "Find a way to defeat him." "If I can not?" "Then, my son, you must learn to die well." - E.M. Garcia

Dietrich: I've always admired the Japanese outlook on death. The calm acceptance, the treating it as a part of life...
Yemana: [to Wojo] I dunno what he's talking about - personally, I'm going kicking and screaming all the way.
Wojo: Well, why don't you tell him that?
Yemana: I like my image.
Palm Apologist
Shouting down the PIC Faithful Since 2009
Screw convergence
Palm III->Visor Deluxe->Visor Platinum->Visor Prism->Tungsten E->Palm LifeDrive->Palm TX->Palm Pre
Visor Pro+VisorPhone->Treo 180g->Treo 270->Treo 600->Treo 680->T-Mobile G1->Palm Pre
http://mind-grapes.blogspot.com/

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In Other News: Europe Claims to Have Never Seen a WebOS Device

stonehat @ 1/12/2010 1:53:21 AM # Q
When asked directly about how Europe viewed the competition from Palm, Jan Jansen told WSJ's Kara Swisher that he "doesn't pay much attention to Palm" and he went on to further proclaim "I don't have a Pre. Actually, I've never seen one."

Still, it's only a market of 730,000 rich consumers, probably not worth the effort.

RE: In Other News: Europe Claims to Have Never Seen a WebOS Device
SeldomVisitor @ 1/12/2010 4:09:36 AM # Q
There was an article in Slashgear about the lack of European sales - for at least one part of Europe:

http://www.slashgear.com/only-220-palm-pre-sold-in-ireland-since-launch-0869182/


RE: In Other News: Europe Claims to Have Never Seen a WebOS Device
stonehat @ 1/12/2010 8:06:16 AM # Q
Blimey. I thought Palm would pay for ignoring us for a year, but didn't think it would be that bad.
Can we assume they won't try that again ?

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Comments were appropriate

jimn367 @ 1/12/2010 6:58:28 AM # Q
Would you be offended if the CEO of RIM said "I have never used an iphone"?

This is much ado about nothing. Ruby never said I know nothing of the iphone - he said he doesn't pay attention to Apple. This is what a leader should do. To paraphrase Tony Dungy "We just need to focus and do what we do"

I can believe he deliberately has never used an iphone. His Palm courtship and plans were probably forming before the launch of the iphone. WHy would he take a chance of being spotted with the competition's product?

Could you imagine the press if the gang from Waterloo was caught in public using iphones? Coprortate suicide.

This is Monday morning quarterbacking. IF he had said "I've used it, but here's where the Pre is superior..." we would be probably be flaming him for being completely delusional.

He did the right thing - dump the question. The interviewer was a jerk, and detractors are looking to knock him down a peg because of the Geek of the year crap.

RE: Comments were appropriate
jca666us @ 1/12/2010 4:02:40 PM # M Q
I don't believe anyone is offended, just shocked.

if the CEO of rim was clueless regarding his competitors, i'd say he was unqualified for his position.

and I feel that way about ruby.

RE: Comments were appropriate
jimn367 @ 1/12/2010 5:29:31 PM # Q
And I will go back to he was dumping the question. He is thew Palm CEO, he was there to talk Palm, not to talk Apple. The reporter wanted to get him talking about the iphone. Any other answer than what he gave would have resulted in follow up questions about Apple and/or the iphone.

He dumped it with a dead end answer.

If the CEO of Toyota was asked about the new Honda hybrid they would dump the question the same way.

In addition, Ruby leaving Apple and going to work for Palm on a competing product left Palm vulnerable to violation of laws and regulations of illegal transfer of protected Apple intellectual data. I'm sure the lawyers blessed everything off, but he was probably told to never, ever talk about Apple unless it is old war stories.

RE: Comments were appropriate
nastebu @ 1/13/2010 12:06:25 AM # Q
It's a bad answer to a fairly pointless question. A non-issue in other words.

I do think it would be a bigger issue if I believed him. A CEO so indifferent to his industry not to have spent some time looking at the competition carefully is a very foolish CEO. But I expect nobody believes him.

RE: Comments were appropriate
bhartman34 @ 1/13/2010 4:59:59 AM # Q
I still think people aren't reading the question and answer carefully enough. Just because he's never personally used an iPhone doesn't mean no one in his company has.

And I think Jim's right. It was a question designed to get him talking about Apple, so he rightly punted it. He obviously punted it in a way that makes Apple fanboys apoplectic, which just makes it more amusing. :)

RE: Comments were appropriate
jca666us @ 1/14/2010 3:17:40 AM # M Q
you're definitely exaggerating the effect of ruby's misstep.

as I said - a lost opportunity for him to tout the pre - which also demonstrates his ill-suitedness to the position of CEO.

opportunities for ruby to tout the pre are becoming less and less frequent.

btw, I'm surprised PIC hasn't reported on elevation partners hiring Avie Tevanian the other day.

he was instrumental on the development of both nextstep and mac osx.

RE: Comments were appropriate
SeldomVisitor @ 1/14/2010 3:44:07 AM # Q
Unless EP's new hire is meant to replace Rubinstein eventually (...), what is the relevance of a new hire at an investor - should we also start heavily looking into new hires at, say, Fidelity?

RE: Comments were appropriate
jca666us @ 1/14/2010 4:44:23 AM # M Q
I guess you can just put your head back in the ground.

to me, tevanian's hire is interesting - because of the crucial role he played at apple and next.

RE: Comments were appropriate
hkklife @ 1/14/2010 8:02:49 AM # Q
Not that I am an expert on all things Rubinstein, but I was honestly surprised when he so (relatively) swiftly was kicked into the CEO throne and Colligan sent packing. You'd think Palm would have either hung onto "Fast Eddie C" a bit longer and/or found more of a "suit" type to be CEO and left Ruby more involved in product development etc.

I wonder--if Ruby was NOT CEO, would that free up more time to use an iPhone and therefore make WebOS/Pre/Pixi a more compelling triumverate of offerings? Hmmmm....


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

RE: Comments were appropriate
mikecane @ 1/14/2010 9:55:16 AM # Q
>>>to me, tevanian's hire is interesting - because of the crucial role he played at apple and next.

It is Grade-A DAMNED Interesting and should have been a PIC headline. I learned about it via Twitter, FFS!

RE: Comments were appropriate
bhartman34 @ 1/14/2010 10:03:32 AM # Q
Not that I am an expert on all things Rubinstein, but I was honestly surprised when he so (relatively) swiftly was kicked into the CEO throne and Colligan sent packing.

I think dumping Colligan was a no-brainer once the Foleo debacle happened. Aside from the Pre's TV ad campaign, I think Rubenstein's done pretty well so far. Palm's at least got one foot out of the grave now.

RE: Comments were appropriate
SeldomVisitor @ 1/14/2010 10:51:32 AM # Q
I haven't seen anything CEO-ish out fo Rubinstein yet. His public appearances haven't been CEO-ish, the PR-fluffs out of PALM haven't been CEO-ish, the current ad content isn't CEO-ish (er...at least not apparently at the CEO-is-fantastic-driven level).

The jury is for sure still out on how much of a CEO he is.

=========

I would not credit Rubinstein with the Pre nor Pixi nor would I blame him for the previous advertising/marketing disasters (Claus anyone?).

RE: Comments were appropriate
bhartman34 @ 1/14/2010 1:30:57 PM # Q
What are you defining as "CEO-ish"?

As far as what the timeline for the Pre & Pixi was, I think you have to give most of the credit to the leadership that brings it to a conclusion. Isn't it enough to note that the Centro and Foleo came out under Colligan, and the Pre and Pixi came out under Rubenstein's tenure? Look at it this way: The decision to actually go to market with something itself is a big decision. So compare Foleo to the Pre. Under Colligan's leadership, the Foleo went just far enough to be really embarrassing when it didn't get to market. Under Rubenstein's tenure, Palm swept CES with the Pre and is Palm is on everyone's radar again (even if people are uncertain of its future).

It's certainly not all sunshine and roses, but things are looking a lot better right now than they did a year and a half ago.

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iphone saves lives

vetdoctor @ 1/22/2010 3:13:01 PM # Q
If only this man had had a palm pre....he would have been lieing in a pile of rubble with a brick in his hand.

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/haiti-survivor-iphone/
In short, I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought that perhaps it involved a magician.
- Chesterton

RE: iphone saves lives
jca666us @ 1/24/2010 7:26:03 AM # Q
If the guy had a Palm Pre, he could have had 50 useless apps opened at once before he died!

lol!

Reply to this comment

Apple To End AT&T iPhone Exclusivity On Wednesday -- Report

Gekko @ 1/24/2010 2:58:31 PM # Q

"According to an inside source close to the going-ons involved in all of this, a new tablet of some sort may not be the only thing on deck for next Wednesday though. We have been led to believe by an inside source that AT&T will lose their iPhone exclusivity on the same day, though it's not yet clear what other carrier (or carriers) will be stepping in to also carry the phone."

http://hothardware.com/News/Will-ATT-Lose-Their-iPhone-Exclusivity-On-Wednesday/

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