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Ars on the Cloud Killing Palm

The highly-respected Ars Technica, a website not known for hysteria or sensationalist journalism, has posted its take on the current plight of Palm in the form of a new editorial entitled "RIP Palm: it's over, and here's why".

In the Ars piece, author Jon Stokes pulls no punches and paints an extremely bleak future for the smartphone maker. Stokes surmises that one of only two fates remain for palm: an acquisition or insolvency. This article is already must-read for its general content but Stokes makes a masterful claim suggesting Palm has been suffocated by their very own cloud.

The article goes on to list a number of six primary causes (though arguably not all the reasons) for Palm's current woes and the lukewarm market reception of WebOS and its accompanying devices. For brevity's sake I'll skip re-listing those reasons here as they have frequently discussed elsewhere and are quite commonly-known by now.

However, I found the final point made in Mr. Stokes' piece quite interesting and one that I had personally not pondered at length or seen truly discussed online. Prior to his concluding paragraph, Stokes maintains that Palm's all-out push to free their smartphones from the shackles of the desktop and migrate their data directly to the cloud--no compatibility with the classic Palm Desktop software, no hardwired sync, and no tight integration with an iTunes-like piece of proprietary desktop software--all combined to make WebOS a platform that is extremely for users to jettison once the initial transition period has been made. Of course, the same can be said for the similar Android OS, but that OS is gaining momentum daily and appears to be rapidly gaining traction at Palm's expense.

Most of the various cloud services, such as Microsoft's Exchange are cross-platform or, in this day of HTML-based everything, even platform-agnostic like Google and Yahoo. Stokes' piece effectively focuses the spotlight on something that Rubinstein, McNamee and others likely never considered during the device's gestation period: there is no single compelling reason for users to cling to their WebOS hardware. In fact, Palm even provides a downloadable Data Transfer Assistant for Windows that easily and seamlessly moves user data out of Palm Desktop and onto their WebOS device and into the cloud. Palm also has detailed step-by-step guides on their support site for migrating one's data to the cloud.

By eagerly handing users the scissors necessary to cut the cord and move into the cloud, Palm is banking on brand loyalty, and the inherent appeal of Palm's WebOS, apps, and hardware to keep users from jumping ship to another platform. Any other minor niceties of WebOS such as its app store exclusives, a handful of stunning 3D games or the Palm OS Classic app simply do not offer enough appeal to keep most users in Palm's camp. After a strong run that began with the original Pilot handheld, Palm appears to finally have lost the unique, differentiating factors that captivated users for nearly fifteen years.

Thanks Mike Cane for the tip.

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Ars: RIP Palm: it's over, and here's why

mikecane @ 3/22/2010 6:50:43 AM # Q

Ouch. I can't argue with any of that.
RE: Ars: RIP Palm: it's over, and here's why
abosco @ 3/23/2010 7:29:20 AM # M Q
Even while everybody was caught up in the magic of the launch, I'm a tad embarrassed to report I was mostly underwhelmed. I was already using a next-generation smartphone that was delivering on all the promises that Palm was making. By the time webOS became available, everyone had already signed a new contract for an iPhone or Android smartphone. Nobody cared anymore (except Engadget, who kept their lips wrapped firmly around Ruby's sausage). The next big market for smartphone buyers will come from RIM. Let's be honest, those things shouldn't even be called smartphones - have you used one recently? Awful. Half will go to iPhone, half will go to Android. Google will acquire Palm at $2/share.

Microsoft will fade into the distance as Macs get heavier adoption by consumers, education, and even enterprise. When I was in college, the number of Apple laptops was anywhere from 30-40% of the total. These are tomorrow's business leaders, these are tomorrow's consumers. A lot of them love Apple products, and virtually all of them become fiercly loyal to the platform, refusing to switch back. The college market is a very lucrative one. If you can get them buying your products now, they'll be buying them for life. Apple has them absolutely cornered.

RE: Ars: RIP Palm: it's over, and here's why
Gekko @ 3/23/2010 12:59:41 PM # Q
>Microsoft will fade into the distance as Macs get heavier adoption by consumers, education, and even enterprise. When I was in college, the number of Apple laptops was anywhere from 30-40% of the total. These are tomorrow's business leaders, these are tomorrow's consumers. A lot of them love Apple products, and virtually all of them become fiercly loyal to the platform, refusing to switch back. The college market is a very lucrative one. If you can get them buying your products now, they'll be buying them for life. Apple has them absolutely cornered.

the same thing could have been said in 1989. go study your history. in the technology world, things can change on a dime and anything can happen. Steve Jobs is going to leave Apple someday - and I wouldn't be so bullish on the company after that happens.

RE: Ars: RIP Palm: it's over, and here's why
abosco @ 3/25/2010 6:51:19 AM # M Q
Jobs was gone for half a year. The stock price slid at first, then rose to a new 52-week high. Apple is accustomed to running the place without Jobs. Will it be a shot to the company? Sure - he alone is largely responsible for much of their success. But they can create and launch products successfully without him.

They launched the 3GS while Jobs was having a transplant. Sounds like they know what they're doing, even without him.

The studies have been coming in, showing that deployed Macs in the enterprise are cheaper to own over the life of the computer. One day, Microsoft will lose their grip on business. Just like RIM.

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Been there, said that already...

technical1 @ 3/22/2010 11:24:24 AM # Q
When there wasn't complete, or significant backwards compatibility with existing apps; which was one of Palm's major advantages- their all encompassing list of apps available by 3d party developers...

Then there's the lack of the ability to back up to an internal card. We don't always have connectivity due to signal strength, system outages, or whatever electrical interference i.e. overhead lighting or neon signs in a restaurant's window; etc.

Then there is the security issue. I don't think Joe TechMgr would sign off on keeping sensitive corporate info in the cloud- at least a new one. Remember how a major bank's glitch caused depositor soc. sec. #'s to be printed on mailing labels. That might have been bad programming, but the hackers must have been licking their chops when the cloud started to take hold....

It is a shame really, I love my Centro & I have it all tweaked out w/3d party apps & utils & now you can't even get one unless you go to eBay...

I'm glad I resisted getting a Pre... the extra memory, etc available on the Pre Plus doesn't cut it. Too little too late.

I'm holding on to my Centro for as long as possible; 'cause I love not having to carry a PDA & a cellphone.

I may even keep my Centro as a separate PDA & go back to a non-smartphone cell until the smartphone OS platform matures some more.


Using Centro, Apt, Accessorizer, Initiate, Butler, Datebk6, Bonsai, DayNotez, MemoLeaf, Resco Backup+Explorer+Viewer, SplashID+Money, TAKEphONE, Palmary Clock, & more & loving

RE: Been there, said that already...
mabsut @ 3/22/2010 1:01:35 PM # Q
Same here. Still using the Centro for lack of any alternative with desktop sync, card storage and a sufficient PIM set. Sync with my XP Laptop works flawless. I just can't see any other phone with the same functionality. Strange.
Palm had the edge
Ironhide @ 3/22/2010 5:14:52 PM # Q
Palm had the edge. It was Palm Desktop. Plus the old apps.

The problem with the cloud is the issue of control. If you dont control something, you have to assume it isn't secure. This is an issue which is going to shake itself out in the future. Unfortunatly people are going to get hurt in the process.
PDAs:
Sorry, can't reveal the whole list cause my wife will kill me for not being able to settle on one for very long. Suffice it to say that the list is long, and goes back 14 years.

Current Iphone user.

RE: Been there, said that already...
xdreduardx @ 3/24/2010 5:52:01 AM # Q
I wish I would have held on to my Centro instead of switching to Palm. As soon as I migrate the last of my proprietary databases though, I am outta here.
RE: Been there, said that already...
rpa @ 3/27/2010 4:47:58 PM # Q
Holding on to my Centro as well...need the PIM and hot syncing to Outlook on the desktop, 2 of the killer features of Palm that were forgotten in Palm's rush to the cloud. Too bad the OEM for the Treo Pro can't come out with a Garnet version...
RE: Been there, said that already...
BaalthazaaR @ 3/27/2010 7:51:14 PM # Q
rpa wrote:
Holding on to my Centro as well...need the PIM and hot syncing to Outlook on the desktop, 2 of the killer features of Palm that were forgotten in Palm's rush to the cloud. Too bad the OEM for the Treo Pro can't come out with a Garnet version...

Technically they can... Access is still licensing GarnetOS.

RE: Been there, said that already...
rpa @ 3/28/2010 10:05:19 PM # Q
So who is the Treo Pro OEM?
RE: Been there, said that already...
hkklife @ 3/29/2010 7:13:31 AM # M Q
HTC
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Who will buy it??

Tuckermaclain @ 3/22/2010 4:42:42 PM # Q
There is always Access. I still wonder what they're doing with the Palm OS.
RE: Who will buy it??
Tuckermaclain @ 3/22/2010 4:45:42 PM # Q
I suppose I'll keep my Centro a while. I don't like it a whole lot but ther's nothing better. The TX is a far better PDA, and I have a few of them I was able to grab off eBay. Maybe I'll use a phone AND a TX. There's still hope for StyleTap on the iPhone. If I could assign the user ID and ROM ID life would be t*ts.
RE: Who will buy it??
e_tellurian @ 3/22/2010 6:23:59 PM # M Q
Come on Palm:

Palm Inc
Last Trade: $3.98 USD
-0.02 (-0.56%) Latest News
Charts
Search articles for PALM
Trade Time: 04:00 PM EDT
Previous Close: $4.00
Day's Range: $3.65 - $4.24
52-week Range: $3.96 - $18.09
Volume: 63,074,640
Avg. Volume: 30,863,526
Exchange: Nasdaq

E-T

RE: Who will buy it??
jca666us @ 3/23/2010 4:32:58 AM # Q
$3.98 - it's what you would consider "a slow flush"

Hopefully Dell will buy them out.

RE: Who will buy it??
SeldomVisitor @ 3/23/2010 5:33:26 AM # Q
> ...Hopefully Dell will buy them out.

Good grief.

I would humbly suggest you pay attention tothe CTIA show going on today through Thursday.

New Dell Android phone.

New Dell Android tablet.

Sheesh.

RE: Who will buy it??
mikecane @ 3/23/2010 9:22:49 AM # Q
>>>New Dell Android tablet.

GMAFB. R u serious? Even with Archos lacking a camera, it still kicks Dell's ass.

RE: Who will buy it??
hkklife @ 3/23/2010 9:43:51 AM # Q
I have yet to see a NON-PC Dell product (other than an LCD monitor) that impressed me. Well, their Axim PDAs were decent for the time but we still had our beloved T|T3 & T|Cs at that time so that wasn't a huge deal for the PIC faithful.

But Dell's MP3 players were crap, their printers are rebranded Lexmark junk, and their low-end Wal-Mart oriented products are pretty poor. I particularly remember that their short-lived line of LCD TVs were atrocious. One of the organizations I work with deployed a large number of Dell LCD TVs & projectors about 2.5 years or so ago (the higher-end hospitality/commercial ones). These TVs are constantly having issues ranging from crackling speakers, power supplies failures, dying backlights, up to faulty remotes.

That said, Dell is awlays a force to be reckoned with and I feel they might slowly be upping their game. For example, their recent Adamo-inspired Vostro V13 is arguably one of the best bang for the buck business notebooks out there today if you don't need a ton of bells & whistles.
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: Who will buy it??
SeldomVisitor @ 3/23/2010 9:51:56 AM # Q
The point about mentioning Dell's Android devices was NOT to say anything about the QUALITY of Dell's Android devices but simply to note the EXISTENCE of Dell's Android devices.

Dell literally has no need for webOS.

Though, perhaps, they could use some more tweaking on what they have.

But that's material for another thread probably somewhere else.

RE: Who will buy it??
e_tellurian @ 3/23/2010 10:52:59 AM # M Q
Palm Inc
Last Trade: $4.02 USD
0.04 (0.99%) Latest News
Charts
Search articles for PALM
Trade Time: 01:34 PM EDT
Previous Close: $3.98
Day's Range: $3.98 - $4.16
52-week Range: $3.65 - $18.09
Volume: 16,113,708
Avg. Volume: 33,963,684
Exchange: Nasdaq
RE: Who will buy it??
e_tellurian @ 3/23/2010 12:25:10 PM # M Q
At what price do you think Palm is out of danger?

E-T

RE: Who will buy it??
e_tellurian @ 3/23/2010 12:41:10 PM # M Q
Does one also have to factor in the value of the Palm brand?

E-T

RE: Who will buy it??
e_tellurian @ 3/23/2010 2:36:22 PM # M Q
Palm Inc
Last Trade: $4.04 USD
0.06 (1.51%) Latest News
Charts
Search articles for PALM
Trade Time: 04:00 PM EDT
Previous Close: $3.98
Day's Range: $3.98 - $4.16
52-week Range: $3.65 - $18.09
Volume: 24,592,862
Avg. Volume: 33,963,684
Exchange: Nasdaq
RE: Who will buy it??
BaalthazaaR @ 3/24/2010 6:46:22 AM # Q
Tuckermaclain wrote:
There is always Access. I still wonder what they're doing with the Palm OS.

They're still licensing Palm OS i.e. GarnetOS.

http://tamspalm.tamoggemon.com/2010/01/16/aceeca-introduces-two-new-palmos-devices-one-of-them-for-consumers/

http://tamspalm.tamoggemon.com/2010/03/23/news-from-aceeca-mez1500-garnetos/

RE: Who will buy it??
jnuneznj @ 3/24/2010 8:14:49 AM # Q
The Palm brand? Really? That is what is hurting. When you list all of these companies: Apple, RIM, Microsoft, Palm, Nokia, Google

Someone sees Palm and they think "Oh are they still around?". When they run the ads with the freaky chick you have to pay attention to see that they are talking about a Palm product.

RE: Who will buy it??
e_tellurian @ 3/24/2010 9:06:40 AM # M Q
Palm has been making handheld devices longer than most why should that be a penalty. It's a premium brand that is currently under valued. Would you buy a Palm Classic built with a reunited crew offering the best of Palm past, present and future?

E-T

RE: Who will buy it??
jnuneznj @ 3/24/2010 4:10:46 PM # Q
700P is a reason not to buy a Palm. My Windows 3.0 was as stable as that piece of junk. But that's not it. 700P was the upgrade to the 680 which barely made it out of the store. During that era there were a bunch of crap Palm devices. So bad they decided to sell a Palm Windows Mobile. I had a choice between WinMob, Palm and RIM. I chose Palm and within 3 months switched back to my old phone. Ohh Sprint released a patch... Didn't fix anything. In fact if someone calls me and I have the bluetooth it would crash the OS if I allowed them to hang up first. Back to the Nokia handheld and months later CEO Ed starts rambling about Apple not having a chance. All I can think about is my crashing Palm. I played the waiting game and then for Christmas my boss handed out iPhones to everyone. I still have it and use it. I tried jail-breaking it but the stability issues we on par with Palm. Once the the app store was released I restored it and have never looked back. Every morning I read the NY Times articles and stream music. During my commute back I listen (Watch) to a baseball game. I instantly purchased pocketTunes when it became available. Because it is an Edge phone I think about upgrading but when I do it will be to the iPhone3GS or to an Android phone. The only issue with the Android move it the App Store investment which is the same decision I made with the Palm. Palm made a mistake by not including an emulator like Apple did with Mac OS X and with the iPad.

Only companies willing to buy Palm are Apple, Google and Nokia. This will increase their patent portfolio

RE: Who will buy it??
hkklife @ 3/24/2010 4:23:52 PM # Q
The Treo 700p actually predated the Treo 680 by a good 5-6 months.

The 700p was technically an upgrade of the CDMA Treo 650 and the 680 was the replacement for the GSM Treo 650. The 755p, the final Palm OS-based Treo, then replaced the 700p for CDMA networks. I remember very well when the 700p came out, as I had three of them and they were all rather dismal performers.


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: Who will buy it??
Gekko @ 3/24/2010 5:06:25 PM # Q

hkk - please check your email. i sent you 3 apps.

RE: Who will buy it??
mikecane @ 3/25/2010 7:02:06 AM # Q
>>>Dell literally has no need for webOS.

That is true.

Reply to this comment

the real reason for Palm's collapse

nastebu @ 3/23/2010 1:51:43 AM # Q
confidence in the company sagged badly with the loss of Tim's Palminfocenter apologetics.

:-)

RE: the real reason for Palm's collapse
hkklife @ 3/23/2010 6:46:57 AM # Q
LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!

Best line\excuse\reason I've heard all year!! Nay, all DECADE!
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

Reply to this comment

I still cannot buy a Palm Pre

stonehat @ 3/24/2010 3:46:46 AM # Q
I live in a rich, Western European country, but Palm STILL do not allow the millions of us to give them money for a phone.

Good Engineers, Bad Management.

[ I did not click "Next Page" in TFA because I want to improve the web getting rid of these abominations, so it may also have mentioned this ]

RE: I still cannot buy a Palm Pre
e_tellurian @ 3/24/2010 6:29:59 AM # M Q
Can you buy from their web site? It should not be an issue with the networks as they do not operate in Europe. What language would you want your phone in?

E-T

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