Rumors Continue About Palm/Handspring Merger

One of the most persistant rumors in the handheld industry, almost as long-running as the one that Apple is going to release another handheld, is that Palm and Handspring are working on a merger. Unstrung is fanning the rumor fires this time, quoting an unnamed industry watcher who says Credit Suisse First Boston is trying to bring about a merger of the two handheld companies. However, Handspring's CEO Donna Dubinsky is resisting the idea because she doesn't want to work for a large company where she won't be in control.

The best evidence that Unstrung can up with to support this rumor is that both Ms. Dubinsky and Todd Bradley, the head of Palm's hardware division, will be at Comdex Canada next week. Handspring has denied that any such talks are going on.

Last fall, the Wall Street Journal and CNN Money reported a rumor that Palm and Handspring were planning to merge but, obviously, that didn't pan out.

Rumors of a merger made more sense last year when Palm was in the process of reorganizing and had many upper-management positions open. However, the company's org chart is pretty full now so it isn't clear what positions Ms. Dubinsky, Jeff Hawkins, and other Handspring employees would fill. It seems unlikely that Palm would bring them in to replace people who have only recently been hired.

In support of the rumor, Palm and Handspring are the two largest handheld makers and both have been struggling over the past year. A merger, handled properly, could reduce cut-throat competition and possibly allow the merged company to be profitable, which the separate companies are not.

Many long-time Palm users have a nostalgic feeling towards Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky and would like to see them running Palm again. He originally created the Palm Pilot and she built the company that sold it, before they left to form Handspring.

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Just a rumor

abosco @ 7/10/2002 4:18:52 PM #
Rumors will continue, but if you can't trust an anonymous rumor from an anonymous executive, then who can you trust??? I agree it would be a good decision to merge the companies and they could POSSIBLY become profitable. It pains me when I see such high technology companies not even making ends meet.

Ed, on that last line, do you mean nostalgic instead of nostalic?

My Palm m105 is my baby, but is that child abuse when I drop it?


I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 4:34:35 PM #
I think that Donna Dubinsky should not be in charge anyway. If I had absolute control over Handspring (which I quite obviously do not) I would find a new CEO. Donna is not a good one. She drove a company worth over a hundred dollars a share into the ground. I know some of this is because of market conditions, but still. Donna is always slipping up with the press, and really hasn't done anything good for the company in a long, long time.
RE: Donna...
Foo Fighter @ 7/10/2002 4:42:01 PM #
If I had the power to eject any senior officer at Handspring, Jeff Hawkins would be the first to go. He, much like his company, was grossly over-hyped. His ideas are tired and boring. And he offered little in the way of innovation. Sony bested him in every direction while he held on to outdated products and old ideas.

So much for the "Great God of PDAs".

RE: Donna...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 5:03:02 PM #
>>I know some of this is because of market conditions, but still.

Some of it? HS, like just about every tech firm out there, lost its sharevalue because of the market.

RE: Donna...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 5:12:21 PM #
Actually, By suggesting HS lost it's share value because of the market implies that these companies were valued fairly to begin with. The market was overhyped and overvalued, and now the market has corrected itself towards more realistic expectations.

I always think of the internet firm (forgot it's name) run by a bunch of 20 somethings. They received about 30 million in VC, through a 20 million launch party in Vegas, and spent another 10 million on advertising A sure sign the end was near.

RE: Donna...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 9:49:42 AM #
Donna is one of the worlds most important entrepreneurs today!

She is an incredibly intelligent person with amazing business sense and discipline. She's also a very important female role model for young women today.

No, I'm not a crazy feminist, I'm not even a woman, but I just think you might see what I mean if you look a little deeper into who she is.

She reminds me of a young Steve Jobs.. but smarter and with less ego. :)

RE: Donna...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 11:15:06 PM #
RE: Donna...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 2:01:09 AM #
huh a young Steve Jobs !?
I don't se that, she's not a guy, how could she be like young steve jobs ?

did steve jobs sell Apple to 2 different company !?
dteve jobs was all about revolution, he thought apple ][ is not good enough so he started the Lisa projet to over throw Apple ][, did donna do something liek this to the pathetic Palm OS ?? Not untill she left Palm INC. people start to realize that, maybe high res screen is better, maybe color screen is easier on the eye, maybe having multimedia is not such a bad idea.
She is nothing but a business person who doesn't know what to do with a computer product.

RE: Donna...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 5:33:52 PM #
A company is not worth $100 per share just because some fool was willing to pay that much at the height of a speculative mania.

A company is worth $100 a share if it earns sufficient profits to justify that price. Handspring has never made a profit.

One more word of advice: Don't give up your day job.


mikecane @ 7/10/2002 4:40:54 PM #
What would Handspring have to offer Palm? Really nothing. The Treos have cheap screens and don't seem to be selling.

Handspring is most likely sunk. Too bad, too.

RE: Merger?
Foo Fighter @ 7/10/2002 4:50:05 PM #
Why is it "Too bad"? All's fair in love and business.

It's called competition. If your company doesn't offer consumers the products they want, you are going to fail. This is what happened to Handspring. They are selling products that offer no compelling features or value. Just more of the same generic Palms that already flood the market.

Sony has surpassed Handspring as the number 2 PDA maker. There is a lesson here, I think.

RE: Merger?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 5:24:17 PM #
Handspring is dead the day Sony release second generation Clie.
RE: Merger?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 11:37:30 PM #
so where's Sony's Palm phone? too bad you can't check your email on a Clie
RE: Merger?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:43:33 AM #
If you think Treo phone is going to save HS, you got to be kidding.

1.Kyochera and Samsung will have them for lunch in no time next months.
2. and Microsoft will clean up whatever left of it.

RE: Merger?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 8:45:24 AM #
>too bad you can't check your email on a Clie

You mean it's too bad _you_ can't check your email on a Clie. Some of us Clie owners have no need or desire to check email every second of the day, but I can understand how it makes a lot of people feel important to be "connected" 24 hours a day.

RE: Merger?
Take1 @ 7/12/2002 3:48:30 AM #
Handspring has seen it's last days if they keep doing what they are doing. They are at the rear end of hardware innovation (no large hi-res screen, slug processor,and 12-bit color) and will suffer even more when the new OS5 stuff hits the market.

RE: Merger?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 6:16:16 AM #
Handspring is living on borrowed time. I had my Prism and Minstrel S and was a die-hard HS fan until the present ball was set in motion by Donna's boo-boo about bye-bye Visor and the subsequent phasing out of the springboard [it HAS begun!] and the Visor line.

I picked up a Clie T615 last month, trading up 3 weeks later to the new T665 and am not looking back. My wireless was never really "there" anyway, invariably frustrating me when I most wanted it to work. The Clies are far superior to any of the 3 Visors I owned and helped make the disconnect of my wireless a few days ago painless. Not to mention the fact that I always held my breath hoping I didn't get stuck in a reset loop [aka hard reset] when I switched modules. I don't have to deal with that with my Clie.

They're bumbling geeks in the worst way - they're oblivious to the needs/wants of their users. I can't wait for them to DIE!

Two Apples do not equal a Microsoft!

Foo Fighter @ 7/10/2002 4:59:42 PM #
One thing that merger supporters fail to realize is that two financially weak ventures, when combined together, do NOT equal a financially strong company. Will merging with Handspring give Palm Inc. a cash positive balance sheet? No. They will still be taking losses and the situation could worsen, as mergers can be very expensive.

And what does Handspring have to offer Palm? Treo? Please....anyone can glue a cell phone onto a Blackberry. Kyocera and Samsung marketed very successful products that outsell the Treo.

The only thing Handspring has to offer Palm is more DEBT, which they don't need.

RE: Two Apples do not equal a Microsoft!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 6:56:43 PM #
Who wants to be like M$ anyway? Do you want to charge your handheld every 2 hours?! I don't and not many other people. Just as many pc users want a M$ handheld to sync smoothly with Windows, mac users want a PDA that does the same on OSX. I don't think it will make a difference whether these guys merge or not. But we don't know what they have up their sleeves either.

Another thing, when did this rumor start anyway? I never read any concrete evidence, just people in forums shooting their mouth off.

They still could make it!
Galapagos @ 7/10/2002 7:13:29 PM #
Handspring has been distinguishing its new line of TREO-Communicators and PDAs from all of its competition by using a thumb keyboard for input and integrating a cellphone-unit into some of its models. If Palm and Handspring would merge. The former Handspring-line would be the "keyboard"-organisers that the old Palm did not produce.

Other than that Palms market share would increase and there would be one competitor less in the hardware arena. After all Handspring is currently eating away at the sales of low-cost models with its greatly reduced Visor Edge and lowpriced Visor Neo as well as its Palm m130-basher Treo 90.

RE: Two Apples do not equal a Microsoft!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 2:13:28 AM #
Who want's to be like Microsoft?! Who doesn't? They're the most successful software company in history. Whether you think you agree or not, you ALL agree. Raise your hand if you're accessing this site using Mozilla on Linux. Well, congratulations to the five of you out there. As for the rest of you, it sure is easy to bash Microsoft while using their software isn't it!

Don't get me wrong, I have a Visor Platinum, and am thinking about buying a Treo. I'm not talking about handhelds here. The discussion topic is successful (or not so successful) companies. The fact of the matter is that Microsoft is much more successful than Handspring and Palm are. Everyone who's using their software agrees with me whether they like it or not.

Interestingly, Donna Dubinski has been at the helm of more than one company hasn't she. Take not as to how each of these companies is doing.

RE: Two Apples do not equal a Microsoft!
Thaddeus Cultt @ 7/11/2002 4:43:43 AM #
If Microsoft is doing everything right, how come they don't have 80% of the handheld market?


" the end the only one left smiling was the Jester, and his was only painted on..." - TC

RE: Two Apples do not equal a Microsoft!
Take1 @ 7/12/2002 3:55:11 AM #
To be fair, MS isn't playing in the entire PDA market. They are targeting the upper half, in which, Sony is the only real competitor. Palm owns the dirt-cheap market and mid-priced market with their products. Handspring's in the gutter with the Neo and Visor products and deluding itself with the Treo priced as it is.

merger? of course it makes sense!

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 5:13:27 PM #
Palm + Handspring= Palm Springs! Just as Palm + Be=Palm Beach

Palm and microsoft should merge

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 5:43:34 PM #
It has been the case for a while now that Palm on not making huge profits so they should merge with a big company like microsoft. Imagine having a Palm handheld but with windows on it. This would really shift some units.
RE: Palm and microsoft should merge
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 5:51:19 PM #
"This would really shift some units."

To the trash bin maybe. If you're going to run windows on a handheld, one might as well go all the way:


RE: Palm and microsoft should merge
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 5:59:23 PM #
For the nostalgic, they're even using a Palm III stylus with it:

RE: Palm and microsoft should merge
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 6:17:02 PM #
Brilliant. We'd get the limited Palm APIs with poor Microsoft implementation quality, if they didn't just drop Palm software altogether. Well, I suppose, if Palm chooses to self-destruct in this way, maybe then Symbian would have a chance.
RE: Palm and microsoft should merge
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 6:31:39 PM #
LoL .. I thin it's about time ppl realize that Palm OS is not going to make it in the smartphone business.. Symbian robably won't make it in the PDA business but hell the smartphone market looks much bigger.
RE: Palm and microsoft should merge
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 6:14:34 AM #
I think you'd have to move the reset around to the front where it's easier to get to.
You know.
For all that rebooting.

RE: Palm and microsoft should merge
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 10:28:38 AM #
Um...How can I sum this up?....OK, in a word, NO!

Donna's convenience

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 6:16:55 PM #
So, because Donna doesn't like to work for a bigger company, she would run the business into the ground and lose the shareholders money? I don't know whether a merger would or would not be good, but I do know that that's not a good reason. In fact, I think if that were the reason, it would border on fraud, since she her responsibility is to the shareholders, not her own whims.
RE: Donna's convenience
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 7:13:04 PM #
Heh, like that has mattered in coporate America for a long time... personal whims are what it's all about obviously - and that's why your economy is screwed and you have seen numerous, massive company crashes recently...!

Good 'ole US of A... eh?

RE: Donna's convenience
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 9:29:32 AM #
>and that's why your economy is screwed

Define 'screwed economy' moron.

RE: Donna's convenience
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:48:21 PM #

Big, beaurucratic companies getting brought down to earth (which is different than "crashing", Mr. Jack*ss), is exactly the economic condition that gives small, smart startups the ability to stay alive, and then thrive.

I don't know where you're from. Your country probably has a lower murder rate than the U.S.....fair enough.

But I guarantee your people *WISH* they had the freedom and happiness that we in the U.S. enjoy. These tough times make us closer, not snottier.

I bet you've never even spent 5 MINUTES trying to think of something that nobody else had!

Enjoy your sick country, you jealous idiot.


Omnitron78 @ 7/10/2002 8:12:15 PM #
But they keep dropping products --- I was on their site today and the Edge is now listed as NO LONGER AVAILABLE, just like the Prism.

If a merger doesn't occur quick, it will be a Visor-less Handspring merging with Palm...

RE: Handsping?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 11:11:52 PM #
They are going all Treo from now on. though I doubt they'll survive this way.
What sells a PDA is price and hardware (honestly not the software). PPC sucked because of it's form factor, it's just too big, and Sony is more than capable of making/selling those Treo 90 like device for like $200-250, how could Handspring possibily survive? With Companies like Toshiba joining the PPC camp, PPC hardware will keep getting smaller and smaller. I could see in the near future it'll be Sony VS Toshiba VS iPaq VS SonyEricsson VS Nokia.

That nostalic feeling ...

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 9:18:36 PM #
is gone. Those two took some decent ideas for the Visor a few years ago and the number 2 PDA market share and ran them into the ground. They seem to be good at having one good initial idea for a company and have no clue as to where to go with it after that.
RE: That nostalic feeling ...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 10:02:09 PM #
So, you didn't really care for their tooty fruity flavors?

So much for PDAs...

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2002 9:26:19 PM #
When I bought my first Visor Deluxe a few years ago, the future looked bright. Palm had a new competitor with some exciting new ideas. Prices were dropping.

Now, years later, prices are the same (since they keep dropping all their low-end products). Handspring has dropped the one thing that set them apart (Springboard) in favor of the dumbest idea I have ever seen (Ugly cell-pda monsters). Microsoft STILL can't figure out what the consumer wants.

Almost makes me think I should start my own company. With competition like this, how hard could it be?

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