Confirmed: Palm to Close Retail Stores

Palm NYC Retail StorePalmInfocenter has confirmed with a company spokesperson that Palm Inc. plans to close its retail stores. The move marks the latest cutback at Palm as it moves to make cost reductions and consolidate the company around its "core business initiatives."

In a statement Palm says they made the decision to close the retail stores to "focus on consolidating more resources behind fewer programs in order to compete more effectively." These same themes were discussed during the last conference call in which Palm's CEO Ed Colligan said the company would be cutting back on anything non-essential throughout the origination.

Palm to close retail storesPalm first entered into the retail environment as part of a pilot program that began in October 2002. The first stores were small kiosks called the palmOne cafe which began in shopping malls on the west coast. Palm later expanded into larger dedicated stores in select US airports.

At last count, Palm has 31 retail locations located in malls and airports nationwide. Its most recent opening was its flagship store in the highly trafficked Rockefeller Center in New York City which opened in December 2006.

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stores closing

Geo @ 1/24/2008 3:49:05 PM # Q
I've visited the one at Union Station in D.C. a few times. I always disappointed with how disinterested the employees there seemed to be in the products or the customers who wandered in. Why bother having a Palm store and staff it with bored employees?

I'll still miss the stores, but with the smartphone focus and big phone carrier stores carrying the various Treos, there wasn't much point to them anymore.

RE: stores closing
hgoldner @ 1/24/2008 11:53:19 PM # Q
I was just in the Union Station store yesterday. I was amazed that:

There was virtually no stock on display, no more than 30-40 different products offered, if that, including the various types of PDA's and smartphones (for various carriers) and one wall of accessories. The other two walls had decorations on them. There were two or three personnel who were available (but clearly not able to sell anything).

The store 'looked' nice, but didn't have the kind of buzz that a Bose or Apple store has.

And at my local airport (Philadelphia), the Airport Wireless store has hundreds of products for sale, and the store is always packed.

I guess they have a marketing strategy, but I'm not sure the strategy is designed to accomplish anything positive for the company.


RE: stores closing
joad @ 1/28/2008 12:01:23 PM # Q
Sometimes when I was checking out the Palm stores I had the feeling that Palm might have goofed again by hiring straight out of the DMV and Post Office.

Later on they apparently found some people to hire that knew a little bit about the products, but they kept that trademark Palm "disinterested" attitude. They had a small wall of the same stuff you can buy online at their poorly-stocked store, a few devices, and maybe one or two cases that Palm themselves didn't rebrand. Of course EVERYTHING was at full-out MSRP+, with nary a sale ever to be seen.

Stores were boring, boring, boring and basically a useless resource for anyone except a fool on a big expense account. Surprised it took Palm this long to pull the plug.

**Another vote for a >100MB RAM Treo**

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Offices to follow...

JonAcheson @ 1/24/2008 3:53:29 PM # Q
This does make a certain amount of sense, though, in that smartphones are all that is left of Palm, and those get sold in wireless stores by the providers.

It made more sense to have retail stores when they actually had standalone products.


"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

RE: Offices to follow...
LiveFaith @ 1/24/2008 4:59:29 PM # Q
Yep. Pretty good idea if you really want to highlight some interesting featured products. But please, Palm has nothing technologically compelling today. Three years ago, their stuff may have had a "wow factor". Like has been said, VZW, ATT & Sprint have their only real products at points all over anyway. The antiquated T|X, E2, and Z22s are just embarrassing, since Palm abandoned the PDA market.

What excitement is in there? BT GPS sets, car chargers, overpriced SD memory, or belt cases? Not a lotta draw, so I'm sure they were not making money on the bal sheets.

Pat Horne

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Airports too?

RussianGuy @ 1/24/2008 5:09:45 PM # Q
Some reports say airport shops will stay - can anyone confirm whether Palm closes all stores or will keep airports?

New Palm OS device by end 2008
RE: Airports too?
AdamaDBrown @ 1/24/2008 5:12:25 PM # Q
All the stores are going including the airport shops, to my knowledge.

RE: Airports too?
Ryan @ 1/24/2008 5:20:01 PM # Q
I'm still waiting to hear on more details.

Some airport stores were run and managed by another retail company so they may remain open, but will loose the Palm branding and featured Palm products.

RE: Airports too?
joad @ 1/28/2008 12:08:17 PM # Q
...and it was that glorious Palm "branding" that had PalmOne emptying tens of millions of dollars out their pockets to PalmSource a few years ago. They were so focused on the "brand" these past years that they forgot to bother making a compelling product. Guess that's really why they are closing the stores - they have nothing of much interest to offer anymore.

**Another vote for a >100MB RAM Treo**
RE: Airports too?
BaalthazaaR @ 1/28/2008 6:28:26 PM # Q
Speaking of airports, I was just in the Orlando airport. While it was not a Palm store, this one store had about a fourth of the store devoted to Palm branded and related products(sedio, etc). They proudly had on display a TX, an E2 and a Z22. Also while in Orlando, I stopped in a "computer store" since I was stopping at another store in the stripmall. They actually had a couple of Clies on display along side Palm PDAs. And NO it was not an antique store.
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Not Apple Stores

CFreymarc @ 1/24/2008 5:28:29 PM # Q
When I first saw Palm stores pop up, I kept on thinking "Same business model as the Apple Stores." However, the Apple stores has class and they put time into training the employees. The Genius Bar is a wonderful idea getting tech support guys out of call centers and right into the customers face.

If Palm put as much effort into training employees instead of hiring out of Best Buy, they could have given the Palm stores the same type of buzz you only see in Apple stores.

Bottom line, Palm didn't got the final mile to make the Palm stores great. They are paying for it now.

RE: Not Apple Stores
jca666us @ 1/24/2008 8:04:44 PM # Q
since palm is eliminating nonessential items to save money - eliminating those stores was a good idea.

At the rate palm is imploding how long before toilet paper becomes a nonessential item?

RE: Not Apple Stores
Geezer @ 1/25/2008 3:48:54 AM # Q
That could be a 'mission critical' infrastructure item as it looks as though things are hitting the fan...
All this is just more dismal signs of failing when are we going to get something positive out of Palm?
I am a long term Palm user and the machines suit me very well - generally very productive and useful at a basic level but they never went beyond that level. The world has moved on and its ridiculous that you can't get a Palm out of the box that plays Flash files as standalone or as a web plug in;
You can't have any of the seductive services of the iPhone;
You're stuck with a Mac OS 7/Windows 3.1 interface;
The browser that comes with Palm devices is absolutely chronic and can't deal with Bluetoothed files and many more similar gripes.
Palm were great machines once upon a time, they are still basically functional but look so dated now. I know everyone who visits this site already knows this, but when are we going to get a turnaround? I can't remember the last really positive piece of hardware or software innovation, except possibly the Foleo and that as we all know was killed before it walked.
I'd buy an iPhone but in the UK its cripplingly expensive so I'll carry on with my 650 but there is nothing else worth considering.
I'd love to see Palm do an Apple/Steve Jobs return. I'd love to see some new contemporary looking compelling devices with up to date software. I'd love to see the level of functionality that other people take for granted.

RE: Not Apple Stores
mandopicker @ 1/25/2008 8:39:29 AM # Q
Like previous posts, I guess this is pretty much Palm dropping as much ballast as possible to keep themselves going. Depressing but economically sensible. Having never been to a Palm store I couldn't comment but the descriptions I read here don't exactly make me want to go find one for the experience. An Apple Store, on the other hand, is an entirely different kettle of fish. Cool, useful and full of people who really believe in customer service (or at least they're good at pretending).

Sure Palm have fiddled while Rome burns. The PDA market is shrinking if not dying, they've lost any semblance of their authority in the smartphone world with a string of good but not innovating 'phones, but then I believe Palm can make a comeback. Ten years ago Apple were in a perilous condition. Enter SJ and they bounce back with some cool new products, mainly pitched at the consumer market (iMac, iBook). This makes me wonder about killing off all the Palm stores: perhaps retaining a few in key locations (major cities, airports etc) would offer a foothold for a comeback range of products rather on relying on 3rd parties. In the meantime, the key stores could at least keep some income coming in and keep a presence in the consumer world.

If Palm can make a push and devise a string of four or five innovative devices possessing killer specs and features (rather than being curiously half-strangled) running a great new OS that doesn't try to be iPhone-esque but instead goes beyond iPhone, then people will part with hard cash.

RE: Not Apple Stores
mikecane @ 1/25/2008 10:58:27 AM # Q
>>>If Palm put as much effort into training employees instead of hiring out of Best Buy, they could have given the Palm stores the same type of buzz you only see in Apple store.

No. Apple has actual hot *products*. Palm has NOTHING.

Oh, right: Pink Centro, anyone?

RE: Not Apple Stores
hkklife @ 1/25/2008 12:46:54 PM # Q
IMO, the Palm-branded stores were a mistake from day #1. Now, HAD they insisted on going forward with the store strategy, it'd have made terrific sense to keep a strong lineup of non-carrier-involved products in the pipeline. Maybe a Palm-branded GPS receiver (a me-too rebrand for the hardware BUT with a VERY clean Palm UI, easy Palm OS Contacts importing + other "special sauces") along with a solid line of PDAs etc.

But since Palm has sold their soul to the carriers these stores should have been closed, oh, at least a year ago IMO. And when the Fooleo died I knew that was the last remnant of Palm's former glory of operating without influence/pressure from the carriers.

Since Palm refuses to try to be agressive as far as the first 'rogue' smartphone manufacturer who also happens to offer VOIP handsets/PMPs/Internet tablets along with selling unlocked phones for reasonable prices, there's no place-and never really was-for Palm retail stores. If nothing else, Palm should've aped the Apple Genius Bar concept with CONSISTENTLY CAPABLE & KNOWLEDGEABLE store staff and maybe a few store-only specials or maybe a kiosk thing to beam apps to your device, they could have at least carved out a small niche of their own (though some employees really did try--remember the dude at the SFO Palm store that jumped through hoops to get colored 680's for people back in '06?)

Right now Palm might as well try to shore up their last remaining retail B&M partners (Staples? BB? Franklin Covey? Office Max?) and work out SOMETHING so Treo & Centro users who are in a pinch will be guaranteed available replacement stylus/charger/battery/screen protector. Last I checked, the local Verizon store wasn't stocking much in the way of Palm-branded peripherals or Athena connector stuff other than car chargers. I was recently on a trip and my 700p stylus broke and it was not fun trying to dig up a spare at retail (finally got a 3-pack at Staples).

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

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I didn't even know they had stores

imfallen_angel @ 1/25/2008 11:04:35 AM # Q
They don't have any in this country, so I didn't even know that they did.

But, regardless, the fact is... how can they have a store when they have so few products?

They need to bring a couple of new devices out, handhelds PDAs... a new Zire type series would be great. A new TX would also be great.

They need to make them cheap (price wise), increase the internal memory to decent sizes (minimal 512Mb-1Gb) and stick to regular SD cards.

If they'd go the PMP way with these, while having all the features of the old school PDAs, they'd have a chance.

The software is already out there, so just making a deal with one of the media player companies, should be good business for both.

Apple would have never been able to pull what they did with the iPhone and iTouch if Palm would have paid attention.

I loved (and still do) my Palm PDAs, but I can see how Palm is dying at this point is they don't smarten up.

The Foleo would have been a step in the right direction, but they missed out on it...again. Why? the two main reasons would have been 1) Overpriced, 2)No touch screen.

Ultraportables are the future. That they called/marketed the Foleo as an "assistant" device was plain stupid.

If they'd bring it out (fixed with touch screen and a 200$ range price), advertise it properly, they might end up doing very well with it.

If they want to wow people, it's easy enough... build it so that it's get a full size expandable keyboard (like the Belkin 3 part pop-up one).

So many things that could be done...

RE: I didn't even know they had stores
cstamper @ 1/25/2008 8:15:32 PM # Q
Hey, I'm in the US, Maryland. And I had no clue they had retail stores. I'd never buy an apple product, but I knew that the half-eaten apple had stores.. Hmmm..

Oh, and I develop software for palm. Maybe I'm just uninformed, but...

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Nothing to see

adamsmark @ 1/25/2008 11:32:07 AM # Q
Comparisons between Palm and Apple stores are stark. The Palm store simply has nothing to "sell". No image. No ideas. No excitement. Even if aimed at the business market, Palm really doesn't offer much: limited software (how popular is the Franklin planner anyway?), a poor selection of cases, no expertise on anything, etc. Face it, Palm has an aging product line (I know, beating a dead horse). Putting its line of PDAs and smartphones on display in malls only exposes this reality.

I like to puruse the Apple store, if only to see the new products (the only Apple product I own is an iPod). Just in the last year, Apple has introduced more products than Palm has in many years. My communist-era-stlyed PDA just won't cut it.

It's obvious that Palm wants to focus on the smartphone market, and they do make a fair product in that way, but they aren't alone. Unless Palm innovates, it's dead.

"I believe in the atomic bomb."

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Palm V > Vx > Clie Peg T615C > T3 > Clie TH55 > T3 > Treo 650 > Treo 700p & T3!

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Hasta la vista, all but one Palm Store!

mikecane @ 1/28/2008 8:06:56 PM # Q
Palm Shuts Down Seven out of Eight Retail Stores

Well, I'll never get to that NYC store now.

No loss. For me at least!

Colligan: RESIGN!

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first, build a better mousetrap

Gekko @ 1/28/2008 9:49:07 PM # Q

and THEN they will buy.

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