Apple Nearly Bought Palm in 1997

Apple LogoJean-Louis Gassée, founder of Be Inc. and former PalmSource Chairman and Apple Exec, posted an interesting little factoid to the Monday Note blog blog concerning a potential Apple acquisition of Palm way back in 1997. Monday Note is co-authored Frédéric Filloux and Jeal-Louis Gassee.

The paragraph in question is entitled "Android: First Impressions" and reads:

A perhaps little known fact: in the Summer of 1997, Steve Jobs called Eric Benhamou, 3Com's CEO (the company owned Palm). "Give me the Palm and come and join my Board of Directors. Only Apple can make Palm a true consumer brand." Nothing happened. Apple's foray into the product segment had to wait ten more years.

1997 was a dizzying period in the rise of Palm during its early years as the company struggled for an identity and autonomy under US Robotics and the eventual 3Com acquisition and subsequent spin-off. The dated but still compelling book "Piloting Palm" is an essential read for anyone interested in this fascinating time in Palm's history.

Given Apple Newton's tragic struggles with not only its computer line but also with its Newton and eMate handhelds during this period, it's no wonder the firm did not pursue Palm as aggressively as they possibly could have. Apple was a company facing very bleak prospects in the years surrounding the Gil Amelio regime and the continuing until Apple's breakthrough iMac success of 1998.

The utter indifference shown by the marketplace towards Apple's early consumer efforts such as the Pippin and the above-mentioned eMate and Newton are a far cry from the company's spectacular recent success with the iconic iPod and iPhone.

Thanks to Mike Cane's blog for the link.

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Fix cite

mikecane @ 11/3/2008 9:42:39 AM # Q
"Mike Cane's Blog" is the name of my old blog. Should be "Mike Cane 2008."

Which won't be around in 2009.

BTW, Steve Jobs must be very, very happy he didn't buy Palm.

And you notice there's been no word about Google ever wanting to buy Palm?

Tomorrow is election day! Go out and vote!

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Fruited Cake

dagwud @ 11/3/2008 10:09:18 AM # Q
I realize that we're all a little apathetic when it comes to Palm news, but wouldn't the eMate, with a fullsized keyboard, be too big to be called a "handheld"?

Plus, was it "Apple Newton's tragic struggles" or just Apple's?

PalmPilot Pro (1997) -> III (1998) -> Vx (1999) -> m500 (2001) -> m515 (2002) -> Tx (2007)

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moofie @ 11/3/2008 7:51:13 PM # Q
Wasn't that the date of the last new version of PalmOS?

I really wish my Treo would stop sucking. It's embarassing.

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how different the world might have been

Gekko @ 11/4/2008 5:48:53 AM # Q
RE: how different the world might have been
mikecane @ 11/4/2008 6:40:32 AM # Q
Yeah, well, we all know YOU would have switched to WinCE, so stop trying to play us.

RE: how different the world might have been
Gekko @ 11/4/2008 10:55:48 AM # Q

i'm looking forward to windows 7 mobile.

RE: how different the world might have been
mikecane @ 11/5/2008 7:11:55 AM # Q
Yep, count on Microsoft to steal from Apple and then fuglify it all up.

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