Palm Hires New SVP of Product Development

Palm has quietly hired a new Senior Vice President of Product Development, taking over for the departed Mike Farese who left last September. The new SVP Mike Bell comes to Palm after a 16 year tenure at Apple, where he was vice president, CPU Software, in the Macintosh Hardware Division. According to Palm's executive bio, Bell led a host of efforts in a variety of roles, including overall product development leadership for the Airport line of products and low-level software for all Macintosh hardware products.

The Silicon Valley gossip and rumor site Valleywag is speculating that Palm has been keeping a low profile on the hire for undisclosed reasons.

Palm has hired Mike Bell, a 16-year Apple veteran, as its SVP of product development. But you'll never hear that from Palm. The hiring of an industry veteran for a top executive spot is something normally trumpeted as loudly as possible. But Palm is desperately trying to keep quiet the fact that it won over Bell shortly before Christmas. Why the silencing effort? Jon Rubinstein, Apple's chairman, was part of Steve Jobs's turnaround team before he left Apple in 2006. Since he joined Palm last year, the smartphone maker has been hiring a number of Apple engineers. There have been "screaming matches and threats of lawsuits," says a plugged-in source.

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RE: Wow, that's news.
LiveFaith @ 1/25/2008 5:45:55 PM # Q
All those Apple folks coming over makes one wonder if it's not Premeditated Merger. Will Palm's future prods dovetail nicely with what Apple has in the works?

Pat Horne
RE: Wow, that's news.
SeldomVisitor @ 1/25/2008 5:46:49 PM # Q
Oh brother.

RE: Wow, that's news.
dkirker @ 1/25/2008 6:29:07 PM # Q
LiveFaith, doubtful. Employees moving between Apple and Palm (or hell, any other company in Silicon Valley) is very common.

RE: Wow, that's news.
RussianGuy @ 1/25/2008 7:47:48 PM # Q
Sounds like excellent news. Take a look at Palm hires over the last 12 months:

Marc Blanc
Paul Mercer
Jon Rubinstein
Mike Bell

The last two can also bring more people from Apple, and trust me, they will only take the best

I just hope Jeff Hawkins will spend more time with Palm so this really makes a dream team

What are the chances Palm will pull out the same trick as Apple in 2003-2007 - stock from 6.5 to 200 in 4 years (Palm is at 5 right now...)

New Palm OS device by end 2008

RE: Wow, that's news.
RussianGuy @ 1/25/2008 7:50:57 PM # Q
hengeem, are you still bearish on Palm?

New Palm OS device by end 2008
RE: Wow, that's news.
SeldomVisitor @ 1/25/2008 8:04:34 PM # Q
I am SeldomVisitor and only SeldomVisitor here - the user ID "hengeem" here is some loser named "Something Lyons" who is somewhat obsessed with me.

But I'll assume you meant to address that question to me!

Yes, of course I'm a Palm-pessimist still. I strongly believe the price of Palm stock will fall to almost net value then Palm will either get bought totally by that silent Elevation Partner partner that originaly got cold feet or it will get bought piecemeal.

I certainly do NOT think it has even the slightest chance of succeeding until it has been reduced to noise-level staff - which is the same thing as failing.

The competition is MASSIVE, RICH, MANY, and ALREADY producing the devices that Palm is promising sometime NEXT YEAR.

Good luck to them - I literally wish them no ill will - I simply think they haven't got a snowball's chance in hell.

No kidding.

[but, note - as with a cast of thousands - I was TOTALLY floored by the outrageous purchase of PalmSource by ACCESS (a move that appears still to have been a bad one, BTW). Having been SO WRONG about the value of PalmSource to "anyone", I easily could be totally wrong about the value of Palm to "anyone". But...please ALSO note that Elevation Partners has literally lost HALF their investment already so maybe it was THEY who made the mistake]

RE: Wow, that's news.
RussianGuy @ 1/25/2008 8:20:27 PM # Q
Yeas, I was talking to you SV ;)
first, don't mess stock price and fundamentals, ok?
You were right about Palmsource - Access paid the wrong price
And I am pretty sure you will be proved wrong about Palm in less than two years
I sense something personal about your negativism about Palm - your were kicked out of the company, right?

New Palm OS device by end 2008
RE: Wow, that's news.
SeldomVisitor @ 1/25/2008 8:43:49 PM # Q
Nah, not me - I've been to the Palo Alto region only twice - once to take a two-week course on the software and hardware of a then-state-of-the-art graphics display/processor and that was in 1980 or so (*), and once about 10 years ago (I think) to visit for a weekend my then-spouse who was taking mandated orientation classes at PeopleSoft (that was nice - PeopleSoft paid for MY airfare to and from (from Northern Virginia) for the weekend!).

Do not confuse having fun with the bozos over on Yahoo with any hatred toward Palm. Over there I have a consistent agenda of countering the mostly-groundless cheerleading posts of those who have a material reason for pumping the stock. Over HERE I discuss real world items, admittedly still with a Palm-pessimist POV, of course, but I don't tend to carry an agenda here, merely providing links to information to comment anew or in reply to someone else's comment.

That is, unless you think my name is Ken.



(*) That was truly a cool time - pre-just-about-everything where one DID have to know the hardware down to the sub-bit level (TTL in this case!) and the software one studied for these guys was machine language, not even Assembler, based.

RE: Wow, that's news.
RussianGuy @ 1/25/2008 9:03:36 PM # Q
ok, fair enough - but can you please lose this 'Giggle', at least on this board???
RE: Wow, that's news.
TooMuch @ 1/26/2008 8:43:14 PM # Q
SV, there is one thing many are forgetting about Palm in the competitive PDA/Smartphone market - the Zen of Palm. It's easy, logical and broad. Without a real user experience that provides everything the power user looks for but with "ease", the rest of the glitz of "new this" and "new that" wears off. I have tried WM5 & WM6 products and an iPhone to replace my T680. Windows Mobile and iPhone require too many clicks, too few features or too much head-scratching. They just don't meet my needs. My T680, even with its hiccups and ancient OS, remains the easiest, full-functioning product for my needs. Sure, I wish I had WiFi and the ability to surf & talk simo. But those are not the ultimate difference makers for me because I can still get the same work done & more, even if slower surf at times. If Palm can launch a new 3G/4G potent OS that delivers all the zen and little things that have matured through the old Palm OS. They will scream forward again! Count on it.

RE: Wow, that's news.
Nycran @ 1/26/2008 9:33:10 PM # Q
@toomuch - I completely agree with you about the "zen" of Palm OS being vitally important. Even in 2008 it's a significant differentiator over the comparatively sluggish win mobile. I can't compare it to the iPhone however since I've not used on yet.

However, I don't hold a lot of faith that Palm in its current incarnation can develop the same zen with Linux. The original Palm OS was written by US Robotics, and it was written from the ground up to be a lean and mean embedded OS. Has any desktop/server os ever felt good on a PDA?

I really hope they come through though. Mobile computing may never be the same for developers and consumers without Palm around.

Major significant correction and Mea Culpa
SeldomVisitor @ 1/31/2008 10:51:05 AM # Q
I wrote here (and similarly elsewhere):

> ...But...please ALSO note that Elevation Partners has literally lost
> HALF their investment already so maybe it was THEY who made the mistake...

This is very VERY wrong and I regret not thoroughly reading terms of their purchase more thoroughly - all my statements about this were based off the "common stock" price changes, not terms of THEIR "preferred stock".

In particular, Elevation Partners is essentially GUARANTEED their investment back no matter what, pretty much.

That is, if PALM is liquidated and its net worth is greater or equal to $325 million, Elevation Partners is GUARANTEED to get their $325 million dollars back regardless what the stock price is at the time. And ONLY =after= they get their money back do run-of-the-mill shareholders get something back. So if PALM drops BELOW $325 million in net worth and is liquidated, Elevation Partners gets it ALL (and less than $325 million net worth and liquidation is the ONLY case where Elevation Partners loses out).

FYI - PALM's net worth, at least accroding to one site, is well under $325 million at this time so run-of-the-mill shares are under the added risk of GUARANTEED absolute TOTAL LOSS should PALM get liquidated. And thus Elevation Partners is down about 1/3rd their investment right now, not half.

Here's a link to a Yahoo post that itself (at least indirectly) links to other things:


RE: Wow, that's news.
hkklife @ 1/31/2008 11:29:00 AM # Q

Go to

A very unusual post for the Palm Corporate Blog in that they are "defending" the Elevation recap. deal AND linking to articles from the (giggle) "me-too media" that are highly critical of Palm's recent activities and/or prognosticating a grim future.

Again, not that this is necessarily a bad thing, just a very unusual bit of content from the Palm Blog.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Wow, that's news.
SeldomVisitor @ 1/31/2008 11:40:40 AM # Q
It is interesting, huh? Probably what happened is the CFO or CEO read a message board somewhere then went ofver to the NYT and said "Oh for Pete's sake - get something out on our official unofficial blog NOW and fire something off direct to the NYT, too!"

A comment on one those "articles" is what drove me to re-read the LARGE filing made by PALM about The Transaction and, TADA!, I found out that Elevation Partners is sitting pretty while shareholders are in relatively deep doo-doo.

Reply to this comment

He wasn't with Apple when hired by Palm

SeldomVisitor @ 1/25/2008 5:53:19 PM # Q
He had left a full year earlier - WELL before Elevation Partners approached Palm to buy in and WELL before Jon Rubinstein was "hired by Colligan".

Be careful about that Me-Too Media (*!) - they often get it WAY wrong!


(*!) "Me-Too Media" - derogatory name for all "news" sources that, instead of doing their own hoof-work, instead just cite OTHER news sources.

RE: He wasn't with Apple when hired by Palm
Ryan @ 1/25/2008 6:53:00 PM # Q
SV, of course, which is why I preceed the wag mention with 'speculating'...

I don't always catch all the comments, in the future if you want to bring news like this to our attention kindly drop a note in the news tips form.

RE: He wasn't with Apple when hired by Palm
SeldomVisitor @ 1/25/2008 7:40:15 PM # Q
> ...kindly drop a note in the news tips form...

Oh - didn't know of such a beast (I haven't YET read everything on the home page after YEARS of visiting here - isn't that interesting?) - now is that MY problem or is there something about the home page that discourages reading? A thought for another thread elsewhere - as the comment from long ago that, even though the home page tries to hide the fact, PalmInfocenter actually has links to other useful sister sites!.

Anyhow, I'll try to find that "news tip" link in the future rather than simply make a post under the comments for some peripherally-related article.

RE: He wasn't with Apple when hired by Palm
twrock @ 1/25/2008 11:38:11 PM # Q
Yeah, Ryan, SV is right. That's the reason I haven't sent in any news tips lately; it's just impossible to see that "News tips" link in the Main Menu of the home page.

Probably the easiest way for you to solve all this website's problems is to hire SV as a consultant so that he can make sure everything he personally might ever want to do or notice has a link placed in the most prominent location possible. You might want to highlight that area further by calling it something like "SV's Handpicked Links" so that he gets all the credit he's got coming for making this site truly awesome. Also, consider placing another link box permanently at the top of the centre column that displays a collection of links to the very best of SV's previous posts on this site so that we can all more easily jump back to all of those incredibly profound words of wisdom. That would be so much more convenient for him as well as the rest of us.

Thanks for considering making these important changes. I'm afraid that unless you do something quick, PIC is never going to become a truly good website.

"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

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