McNamee Expects iPhone Users to Switch to Pre
Roger McNamee continues his string of comments to Bloomberg regarding the fate of Palm and the new Pre smartphones in a new Bloomberg article, entitled "Pre to Win iPhone Users After Contracts, McNamee Says". Written by Rochelle Gardner and Hugo Miller, the piece gives McNamee a platform to go on record stating quite matter-of-factly that the first round of first-generation iPhone adopters will jump ship to Sprint and the Pre when these contracts begin expiring on or after the 2-year anniversary of the initial iPhone launch on June 29th.
As usual, no concrete release date info is offered other than the standard and cryptic "first half of the year" that has been uttered since CES in January. The Bloomberg article goes on to quote Maynard Um, an analyst covering Palm at UBS, who states that "The timing and success of the Palm launch is now the critical factor". While the article makes a great deal about Palm's six straight quarters of losses and their dismal preliminary numbers for the third-quarter due an mostly-antiquated smartphone lineup, little is made of Sprint's woes, as the carrier recently announces a record loss and is still experiencing a high customer churn rate.
The juiciest morsel from McNamee in the Bloomberg article undoubtedly his "coolest product" comment:
Think about it—if you bought the first iPhone, you bought it because you wanted the coolest product on the market. Your two-year contract has just expired. Look around. Tell me what they're going to buy".
No comment is made about the legions of 2007 iPhone customers who re-upped their contracts last year to score a "cheap" iPhone 3G, nor of the all-but-certain summer iPhone refresh that Apple is undoubtedly preparing. The above comment appears destined to earn a place in history along other infamous Palm-related quotes such as Carl Yankowski's IPO day comments in 2000: "We are well positioned whichever way the market goes" and Ed Colligan's 2006 "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in" iPhone dismissal. Another choice McNamee quote regarding the current shambles of the global economy is in: "…is an enormous risk for everybody in this marketplace—but I don't care."
The article concludes with several insightful observations regarding the dated nature of RIM's BlackBerry OS' underpinnings as well as the iPhone's semi-dated OS X-derived Mac OS kernel versus the fresh, legacy-free code that underpins Palm's new WebOS. McNamee's quotations conclude with a reiteration of Palm and Elevation Partners' "10-year plan" unveiled at CES for WebOS to power Palm devices for the next decade.