MobileInfocenter

Comments on: Computerworld Editorial on Past, Present, and Future of Palm OS

Computerworld have published an opinion piece regarding the current status and future outlook of the Palm OS. Authored by long-time Palm handheld owner and former publisher of the Palm Reader e-mail newsletter, Mike Elgan, the piece takes a refreshingly hysteric-free look at the early days of Palm Computing and points out Palm’s numerous missteps and hiccups along the way. Elgan cautions that while the early brilliance of Hawkins and Dubinsky must not go overlooked, a loss of control of both the company and the product began Palm's decline. Long-term followers of the platform will be surprised at Elgan's assertion that this began not during the tumultuous 3com/Palm Inc./PalmSource/Handspring days of the late 90s/ early 00s but rather during the US Robotics' acquisition of Palm in 1995 -- a year prior to the first Pilot even shipping!

To quote just one succinct piece from the article:

"How many times has Palm distracted, divided and plundered the company with spin-offs, acquisitions and mismanagement?"
Return to Story - Permalink

Article Comments

 (24 comments)

The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Start a new Comment Down

Well see....

InsGuy @ 2/27/2007 5:02:11 PM # Q
I hope that Palm does have some new products, 'fresh from the minds' of some great people, but at this point, I'm a little skeptical.

All good things...
RE: Well see....
freakout @ 3/1/2007 4:31:20 AM # Q
Why? I mean, Palm have been milking the Treo for all it's worth over the last few years. I would be more skeptical of the idea that they're not working on something new.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680
Reply to this comment

The Me-Too Media is often wrong

SeldomVisitor @ 2/27/2007 5:45:37 PM # Q
Once again we read how Hawkins is in a back room developing something for PALM.

Uh...I don't think so.

He's in a backroom developing something for Numenta.

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
Ryan @ 2/27/2007 7:30:57 PM # Q
Seldy - What's your evidence/reasoning for this? (That the secret third biz is solely Numenta.)

In the lone interview that started this meme he was refering to the PDA/Smartphone industry and portable devices in general. I was also at a Palm Analyst meeting where he again spoke on his "secret" work as being related to mobile computing and he didn't talk about Numenta.

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
SeldomVisitor @ 2/27/2007 7:41:16 PM # Q
There is no evidence that Hawkins is associated with PALM in ANY major way anymore - he ceased to be CTO this time last year - hardly what someone who is The Force behind a MAJOR THANG will be ceasing to do just before its introduction.

And ALL the interviews with him that are fairly recent strictly discuss his brain crap.

Numenta, not Palm, is his main interest.

Hard solid in-your-face evidence?

Nah...but the Hawkins fanboys CERTAINLY don't have ANYTHING to back up their own pet theories.

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
PacManFoo @ 2/27/2007 7:54:07 PM # Q
In addition Donna Dubinsky is now at Numenta and even Ed Colligan is on the board there as well. I believe this treo errr trio has moved on to other endeavors and are cutting ties with their handheld heritage. With out the heart and soul of Palm it will die a quick death. I hope that I am wrong, but Hawkins shows no proof that he cares about Palm anymore. You and I and every Palm addicted person out their were just Hawkins' gutter junkies until he made his rock and could sit around and play with his brain. To make matters worse, we've been told we don't need PDA's anymore that it's not the IN thing. We need to join in the Smartphone -Small screen, short battery, overly expensive, MS butt kiss'n crowd if we want to continue to enjoy a portion of what we've had. Well I say stick that smartphone where the sun don't shine because I still have 6 of the 10 Palms/Handspring's that I've forked over hard earned money for and surely that will last me a while.

Of course if they come out with a TX2, I'll be all over that!

PDA's Past and Present:
Palm - IIIxe, Vx, M500, M505, Tungsten T, TX
Handspring - Edge, Platinum
Sony - SJ22
Apple - MP2000, MP2100

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
Ryan @ 2/27/2007 8:03:17 PM # Q
The bit about him stepping down as CTO is news to me, but looks like you're right. I don't think anyone really picked up on that, not that they would issue a press release about it, but I don't recall hearing about that before.
RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
SeldomVisitor @ 2/27/2007 8:05:22 PM # Q
I probably commented on it sometime back but possibly not here.

Other SEC filings by PALM overtly mention "important people to PALM" share/option holdings and Hawkins was noticeably missing from the list. That is strange because he IS still "known" as the uber-vague "member of the exec".

See pages 5, 6, 18, and 19, for example:

-- http://tinyurl.com/y6ploj

I guess "member of the exec" doesn't really mean anything material, eh?

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
cbowers @ 2/28/2007 2:20:15 PM # Q
"With out the heart and soul of Palm it will die a quick death."

There's *nothing* quick about Palm, even it's death.

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
cervezas @ 2/28/2007 4:00:28 PM # Q
The thing that's sort of silly about this is the assumption that because Hawkins has talked about this new business it must be all Hawkins' project and therefore dependent on him personally. I agree that Hawkins' presence at Palm these days is most likely symbolic (isn't he just listed as "Founder" now rather than having an executive title?). But if he has left the building entirely why would anyone suppose that he would be relevant to Palm's product plans one way or the other? Are we supposed to think he was working on this alone and that he just packed up his foam models and soldering iron and took the whole project with him?

I'm pretty sure I can say this without getting anyone in trouble: there is something new in the works at Palm and it's far enough along that there are pre-release devices that have been circulated internally and also to a select group of people outside the company (myself not included). I'm not the only one outside that group who has been aware of this. Mike Mace has blogged about it, for example. And no, I'm not going to say anything more about it.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
www.pikesoft.com/blog

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
freakout @ 3/1/2007 4:22:03 AM # Q
Bah! Why must you tease us so! You're nothing but a big meanie, David. ;)

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680
RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
SeldomVisitor @ 3/1/2007 6:24:31 AM # Q
> ...Hawkins...Hawkins...Hawkins...not Hawkins...there is something
> new in the works at Palm and it's far enough along that there are pre-release
> devices that have been circulated internally and also to a select group
> of people outside the company (myself not included)...

It would be Big News if there were NOT something new in the works at PALM.

That is not, nor ever has been AFAIK, in question by anyone.

The "Hawkins...Hawkins...Hawkins...not Hawkins" part up there, however, has and was what was being discussed.

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
PacManFoo @ 3/1/2007 10:01:21 AM # Q
OK Mr. Beers, here is what I have seen from M.Mace's Blog:

On Palm and its future

Future Treo products. Palm is working on products that will combine WiFi and cellular. "Stay tuned." I took that to mean a Treo with WiFi built in. I hope the operators will be willing to sell it.

Beyond smartphones. "Are there are other segments of the market that we could go after with new designs and new form factors and are we going to do that? Sure. Absolutely."

"We're a mobile computing company...so you can expect us to do more products...that leverage the fact that every one of you is going to have a broadband modem in your pocket which is instantly accessible to the Internet and the outside world. We think that's a pretty cool thing and we're working on products that take advantage of that."

"They (users) have a high-speed connection...to their pocket...Boy, is there things we can deliver to them, and is there compelling experiences that we can deliver to them, that are going to help us differentiate our products? I think there are, and we're working on things like that."

Same vague hints that Palm has been giving for a year: Broadband modem, lots of local storage, think what we could do for that. What I think I'm hearing is: A mobile product with WiFi, which Palm pairs with Web services that deliver content and do other things for the user. I wish I knew what those things are -- that'll be the interesting part.

Do Palm PDAs (no phone built in) have a future? It's been shrinking, because we've been cannibalizing it with the Treo. But it's still a $300 million business. My translation: We'll keep offering them as long as people buy. But we're not putting a lot of energy into them.

On the LifeDrive: "Too big, too late to the game" compared to iPod. Wow, if they expected that thing to compete with the iPod, they were even more naive than I thought. They didn't have the iTunes-like service, and they tried to be all things to all people. I hoped they learned the right lessons for their next generation products.

Is Linux in Palm's future? We look at Linux as being an interesting community to leverage. (He then branched to a discussion of Palm OS.) There are a lot of users who have loyalty to Palm OS and love it. "We want to take the Palm OS forward." That little quote makes a lot more sense now that we know he was in the process of buying rights to Palm OS Garnet. But what does he mean by leveraging the Linux community?

Is Palm for sale? Companies don't get sold, they get bought. We're trying to execute against a brand, to build a great brand. I think the implication was: 'we're not trying actively to sell ourselves, but we're publicly traded and would have to listen if somebody offered a bunch of money over the market price.' I have heard companies be a lot more vehement about "we're not for sale." So I'd call this a non-denial denial. Or maybe he was just trying to be polite.


PDA's Past and Present:
Palm - IIIxe, Vx, M500, M505, Tungsten T, TX
Handspring - Edge, Platinum
Sony - SJ22
Apple - MP2000, MP2100

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
ballistic @ 3/4/2007 8:03:46 PM # Q
There is no evidence that Hawkins is associated with PALM in ANY major way anymore - he ceased to be CTO this time last year - hardly what someone who is The Force behind a MAJOR THANG will be ceasing to do just before its introduction.

And ALL the interviews with him that are fairly recent strictly discuss his brain crap.

Numenta, not Palm, is his main interest.

Hard solid in-your-face evidence?

Nah...but the Hawkins fanboys CERTAINLY don't have ANYTHING to back up their own pet theories.

Sorry SV, here's the evidence that proves you're wrong.

http://palmaddict.typepad.com/palmaddicts/2007/03/jeff_hawkins_is.html

JEFF: Just to be clear, I have two jobs: I work at Palm, and Numenta. Actually, I’m an employee of Palm, and a volunteer at Numenta (laugh). I don’t want anyone to think like ‘Jeff’s left Palm’, that just isn’t true.

PJA: First of all, what is your current title at Palm?

JEFF: The title on my card is “Founder,” and I work part-time, half-time like I said before. I basically work on new projects…projects that aren’t in the public view as of yet.

You know, I wouldn’t continue working at Palm unless I felt there was a real opportunity to improve upon the state of personal computing. I think personal computing is important, and can we make better computing products. I feel great about Palm. The smartphone is starting to take off. I’ve been predicting this for the past 6 years… and, now it’s happening. Smartphone adoption is going to keep growing rapidly for some number of years, and we’ve got some clever and cool plans that you’ll see unfold over the next year. I’m not worried about the company, and Palm’s fans shouldn’t worry about it either.

And in case you and Surur still think the LifeDrive was Palm's secret third business...

PJA: Well, you’ve dropped some broad hints yourself over the past year about the infamous, legendary ‘3rd arm of the Palm business?

JEFF: Yes; and I did that on purpose, by the way. So, what’s your question?

PJA: So, you meant it, then? In that case, when? 2007, 2008?

JEFF: We’re going to be announcing something…but I won’t tell you what it is…we will be launching this year, not in the distant future. I’ll give you a much bigger hint: I’m going to be speaking at Walt Mossberg’s D Conference in May. It’s a high-end industry conference. Anyway, I’m going to be giving a talk there, and that would be something for the Palm fans to keep a close watch on.



content is going mobile. visit www.mobileread.com for news and discussion.
RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
twrock @ 3/5/2007 12:01:37 AM # Q
Oh, sure. But of course you already know that Hawkins is going to make up a bunch of lies. It's obviously what the "Founder" of a corporation is supposed to do, you know, prop up the perceived value of the company by making up a bunch of stuff that will never happen. He's just stringing you along. You can't believe anything any of those Palm people say anyway. There is no "third business", I tell you. NONE! Forget it! We've already made up our minds and any evidence to the contrary is either misperceptions or flat out lies! Stop bringing in this kind of stuff to muddy the waters. It is plenty clear at this point that there is nothing to these rumors. Palm is dead. Dead, I tell you! Stop being such a fanboy. It's embarrassing to have people like you hanging around the web's premier Palm-bashing site.

BTW, thanks for the link. So there may well be a very bright light at the end of this tunnel after all. Although I don't have the complete confidence that Hawkins suggests, I will be looking forward to the announcements in May. I certainly hope that I will be "pleasantly surprised" if not "completely astounded".

This interview would do well to get a headline article here at PIC.

(PS. for those who haven't been around a lot, the first paragraph is intended to be sarcastic.)


Thinking about Vista? Think again: http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt
Want an alternative? Try this: http://www.ubuntu.com/

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
freakout @ 3/5/2007 2:11:32 AM # Q
This interview would do well to get a headline article here at PIC.

Indeed. Look for it shortly. ;)

It's a great interview - mainly because it reveals more about how Palm is handling recent developments in the market and it's own business than we've heard in the last six months! That, and it's wildly optimistic, although you could probably expect that from the founder...

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
Surur @ 3/5/2007 7:04:58 AM # Q

In the face of that interview I would have to eat crow and admit the LifeDrive was not the 3rd business. I guess I will have to join the bunch speculating what this company-changing venture will be.

Surur

They said I only argued for the sake of arguing, but after an hour I convinced them they were wrong...
Hey!! I made associate writer at PDA247. Come see my nattering over there!!
www.clieuk.co.uk/wm.shtml

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
SeldomVisitor @ 3/5/2007 7:11:51 AM # Q
New evidence that did not exist before - I can live with that.

RE: The Me-Too Media is often wrong
SeldomVisitor @ 3/5/2007 7:42:15 AM # Q
Just read that interview.

I think all should.

Numenta and its focus:

No, particular thing to quote here, however I think Mr. Hawkins needs to do a little more reading on Image Processing/Recognition, Neural Networks, Genetic Algorithms, and similar work. Maybe he should subscribe to the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/RecentIssue.jsp?punumber=34
or maybe the Transactions on Neural Networks http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/RecentIssue.jsp?punumber=72 .

Next Great Thang:

== "...Well, you’ve dropped some broad hints yourself over the past
== year about the infamous, legendary ‘3rd arm of the Palm business?..."

Note - those hints were actually dropped much longer ago than "the past year".

== "...JEFF: Yes; and I did that on purpose, by the way. So, what’s
== your question?..."

Testy, eh?

he then goes on to say something is going to be introduced without saying what is going to be introduced is The Next Great Thang.

Buyout:

== "...I wouldn’t pay attention to that. 90% of the time, there isn’t a
== shred of fact to those rumors..."

Reply to this comment

Me-Too Media Are Slaves to Corporate Daddies & Agendas

LiveFaith @ 2/27/2007 8:28:57 PM # Q
Ryan,
You're surely not the PIC Ryan. That info about Hawkins slipping out is ooold news.

Nice thread going here tho. It is clear that Hawkins is de-emphasizing Palm. He was even quoted as saying he had nothing to do with "Palm's" Treo 650 way back. He is a visionary and as the piece said, a "design fascist". That's what once made Palm great (Apple continues) and why they even make a buck today.

IMO, the Palm core is 2/3 gone. When Colligen can dump this corporate monkey on Motorola or whoever out there for a dime, then the three may try to do it all over again under a completely new and fresh organization. Hopefully they can do the corporate funding i$$ue$ successfully this time.

The following quote from the article is also succinct IMO. This is the core of Palm's current disaster:

"The $64,000 question is, Has Palm lost its mojo? In other words, does Palm still think like Apple -- that the product is everything -- or is the company thinking more like HP, where partnerships, branding shell games and big enterprise deals are most important?"

Anyone who can't answer the above Q is just not paying very good attention.

Long live the Palm "idea"!

Pat Horne

RE: Me-Too Media Are Slaves to Corporate Daddies & Agendas
2xs @ 2/28/2007 4:53:43 AM # Q
no mogo anymore... :-(
gimmi the 64k :-)

Palm Professional -> Palm III -> Palm Vx -> Palm m505 -> Palm TT2 -> Palm TT3 -> Palm TX -> Treo680
Reply to this comment
RE: Welcome to 4-day old news...
Ryan @ 2/28/2007 11:29:03 PM # Q
Mike did you see this new Treo phone?

http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/1270/

RE: Welcome to 4-day old news...
mikecane @ 3/1/2007 9:15:07 AM # Q
WTF?!!?

Reply to this comment
Start a New Comment Thread Top

Account

Register Register | Login Log in
user:
pass: