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Business Week Raises Pre Adoption Issues

Fresh from the spat with Palm over the recent preDevCamp drama, William Hurley has published a dismal summation of the Pre's flop potential at Business Week. The article focuses on the possible missteps that could hamper the Pre's successful arrival including Palm's mistreatment of the developer community, a lack of apps and the possibility of being upstaged by whatever Apple announces next.

Remember that Palm's developer network has been largely dormant for three to four years; not immediately embracing its reinvigorated efforts is shortsighted and will prove costly.

While billed under the "viewpoint" heading, the article reads much like a "hatchet job" according to Barron's TechTraderDaily.

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Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'

SeldomVisitor @ 6/3/2009 12:29:16 PM # Q
If you are correct in saying the BusinessWeek "article" was under Viewpoint, then Eric Savitz owes the world a retraction of his own words about the article because he outright said it was NOT an "opinion piece":

== "...That makes Hurley a perfect source for a story on the Pre,
== or a candidate to write an op-ed, but Business Week used him instead to
== write a news-style piece that assesses why the product is doomed to
== fail..."

.

RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
LiveFaith @ 6/3/2009 1:11:47 PM # Q
American mainstream / industrial-govt-propaganda media syndicate strikes again and your assessments are accurate. The sooner the people decide to kill off these leeches upon society the better. Watching them die lately is pure freedom-lovers-nirvana. JMO ;-)
Pat Horne
RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
numlock @ 6/3/2009 1:49:51 PM # Q
Regardless of how they present it, the author obviously has an axe to grind with Palm and BizWeek is out of its mind to run something so critical with all of the apparent bias involved.
RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
jca666us @ 6/3/2009 2:10:23 PM # M Q
I don't believe it's a hatchet job - the author of the article is being honest - and not drinking the pre kool-aid
RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
jca666us @ 6/3/2009 2:28:59 PM # M Q
here's a comment I found by the author of the "hatchet piece"

Comment by The Reptile - June 3, 2009 at 12:52 pm
Hi Eric,
For the record I was asked to write an oped, and that's what I did. I have no control over what BusinessWeek does once the the copy has been turned in.
The points in the article stand, as does my opinion of Palm. However the title and subtitle, as well as the positioning of the article on the BusinessWeek website, are issues to take up with BusinessWeek.
Thanks for opening this discussion on other outlet, and for allowing me to participate.
Best,
whurley
Comment by whurley - June 3, 2009 at 12:53 pm


Disclaimer: I have no stock, contracts with, or any other current connections to any of the companies mentioned.
Comment by whurley - June 3, 2009 at 12:56 pm

RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
bhartman34 @ 6/3/2009 4:07:13 PM # Q
For the record I was asked to write an oped, and that's what I did. I have no control over what BusinessWeek does once the the copy has been turned in.

Sure sounds like he meant it as an op-ed piece to me.

Regardless of how they present it, the author obviously has an axe to grind with Palm and BizWeek is out of its mind to run something so critical with all of the apparent bias involved.

I happen to agree with that. But further, I think BizWeek got exactly what they wanted out of it. If it's true that they controlled the title and subtitle, there's no doubt in my mind who's really holding the hatchet.

As for the author himself, if you read his blog, it's pretty clear that he's got a giant axe to grind. (The moral of that whole debacle seems to be that "non-disclosure" is synonymous with "not appropriate for Twitter".)

While I can agree with the author that the success of the Pre will largely hinge upon its utility, it's difficult for me to see what happened between PreDevCamp and Palm as Palm somehow disrespecting the developers. Palm reacted (maybe over-reacted) to some unprofessional behavior and canceled one meeting. Not that big a deal, really. What's arguably more important is how some of the organizers of PreDevCamp seem to be venting their spleens about it. If you were running a corporation (and preparing to launch a product that will make or break your business), would such behavior inspire profound confidence?


RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
twrock @ 6/3/2009 4:47:54 PM # Q
jca666us wrote:
I don't believe it's a hatchet job - the author of the article is being honest - and not drinking the pre kool-aid

(Of course you don't.) :-)

Seriously, everyone is biased. The most honest people are the ones who recognize their own biases and admit them openly. After all that went down between Hurley and Palm, there is no way he could write this without his negative bias coming through.

And on top of it, it's the media. They make money by having something interesting enough to put out there that it "sells". So of course it's biased.

Palm is a company that wants to sell a product and turn a profit. Of course they are biased.

So as usual, this is not a question of which one is right, making the other wrong. Just accept that it is a hatchet-job and it is kool-aid.

Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?

RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
bhartman34 @ 6/3/2009 5:13:08 PM # Q
I also wanted to add that I think it's hysterical that an OSS guy is touting the idea that making devices harder to develop for is a good thing.

Nah...No bitterness there... :)

RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
rmhurdman @ 6/4/2009 6:26:38 AM # Q
bhartman,
You must have read blog posts by various authors, because whurley NEVER mentioned an NDA or twitter. Sure he has an axe to grind (as do I), but it has nothing to do with the NDA.

For what it's worth, I agree with his opinion that Palm will succeed or fail by their third-party developers. And given their poor record of communication and relationship building, I think whurley might be on the right track. For a further example, look at the way the Pre works with iTunes. There's nothing wrong with it, but they could have communicated with Apple, possibly built a relationship. But no, true to their style, they just do it, and hope no one will get angry.

To others who are questioning the journalistic value of the article, maybe you should find out who whurley is, first.

RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
bhartman34 @ 6/5/2009 5:54:21 AM # Q
Hi, rmhurdman.

You must have read blog posts by various authors, because whurley NEVER mentioned an NDA or twitter. Sure he has an axe to grind (as do I), but it has nothing to do with the NDA.

Sure I did. There's really no way to get context without doing that. (Obviously, you don't get the whole context, but you do get some.) As the saying goes, no man is an island, and it's not realistic for whurley or anyone else to look at the sequence of events as they played out and not realize that people will infer some level of causality. As I was reading his response to posters, the thing that kept striking me was his constant deflection of any issues other than the ones he brought up, as if his vague comments about not being respected would and should be the end of the discussion about big, bad Palm, simply because the sequence of events was inconvenient to talk about. Yet Giovanni's blog makes it very clear what the sequence of events was:

1) No or very little contact between the PDC leaders and Palm for months at a time.

2) Some conversations on Twitter that were apparently not to some people's liking involving software development.

3) The PDC organizers were upset about the lagging release of the SDK (no surprise there, and I know they have lots of company).

4) Giovanni and whurley tweeted about a meeting they were going to have with a Palm representative, upsetting the powers-that-be (regardless of whether it technically violated the NDA).

All of this left whurley and Giovanni feeling disrespected (either personally or on behalf of the community - it's actually not that easy to distinguish). They both have every right to feel however they want to feel about it, on behalf of the PDC community or not.

As I said, the article was clearly an opportunity for whurley to vent, and give Palm a metaphorical one-finger salute. It's a free country, as they say, and whurley has every right to write an op-ed piece the way he wants to. I just thought (and still think) that Business Week wanted an attack piece, and they knew where to get it from.

As for my references to Twitter: If the exchanges with Palm's people had taken place over e-mail, and not Twitter, would it still have engendered the same problems between the PDC organizers and Palm? That does not appear to be the case. It's the public nature of Twitter that raises the stakes all around, both in terms of Palm protecting their reputation and in terms of developers protecting theirs. That's why these things are more commonly done in private.


For a further example, look at the way the Pre works with iTunes. There's nothing wrong with it, but they could have communicated with Apple, possibly built a relationship.

The only thing I can think of that Apple would enjoy less than other phones latching on to iTunes is probably working with Microsoft on a virtual machine to run OSX on Windows 7 netbooks. I see no reason Apple would work with them. At bottom, they're a hardware company, not a software company.


RE: Hmmm..Savitz said it was an 'article' not a 'viewpoint'
ggallucci @ 6/6/2009 4:56:49 PM # Q
For clarification, since the NDA is the main thing being discussed on most posts on the web.

We were very specific and direct with Aaron Hyde at Palm before we signed the NDA that it only covered the release date of the phone. Nothing else. We had a couple phone calls on this specific point to make sure we all agreed and understood. The fact that the meeting was taking place or that we had an NDA was absolutely not part of the agreement. We're not new to this game. We understand what happens (you saw it over this weekend) when parties sign documents like this and don't discuss and agree upon what specifically the document covers. I don't blame Aaron here. I have no idea what transpired internally at Palm to make them cancel the meeting and hit the reset button with us. I appeared to me that someone else got involved and freaked out when the post went out on twitter (see reasons for that, also driven by Palm, below) regarding the meeting. But again, I'm just guessing here.

Second point, Paul Cousineau and Chuq Von Rospach at Palm had asked us on a previous call to make sure the community knew they were talking to us. They were held under some tight restrictions about what they could say to the public, for obvious reasons, and had asked us to be sure the developer community knew they were engaged.

It appears that the two competing needs (communication to the community that Palm was talking to the independent developers via preDevCamp and secrecy) driven by separate camps clashed.

This, coupled with our frustrations based upon some other issues in our relationship with Palm led to the decisions by whurley and myself to exit the scene.

The worldwide movement we created under the preDevCamp banner is, by design, intact and all local groups, as far as I can tell, are still planning their individual events.

Last point, Palm gets it now...

Pam Deziel, VP of Developer Marketing, responded on the Palm Developer Network blog this morning about the situation:

"We overreacted to the whole disclosure issue. We've been in stealth and super secret mode for so long now, we needed a real world conversation to see how we needed to work things so everybody can operate in their own environment."

"I'm optimistic that we can find a good solution. And we're going to keep talking. We'd love to get your two cents, concerns, and suggestions feel free to join the conversation here, and be assured that even when we sometimes have to keep quiet, we're always listening to your ideas."

Read the whole post here: http://pdnblog.palm.com/2009/05/a-predevcamp-update/

Whurley and I are here to serve the community, not the corporation. When it became obvious that we needed to make a bold move to get Palm's attention on behalf of preDevCamp, we moved. Whether you agree with our tactics or not, Palm is seriously paying attention to you now. Dan Rumney will insure that the movement has one single point of leadership to the extent that a large, worldwide movement needs it.

The end result has been a more active, genuine, serious relationship between Palm and its independent developer community. Everyone wins. This is what we, as leaders of the preDevCamp movement, hoped to create in the beginning. It looks like we're here now.

Anyone want to talk to me about it personally, feel free to catch me on twitter http://twitter.com/giovanni, email at predevcamp(@)gallucci(dot)net or leave a comment on my original post http://blog.gallucci.net/2009/05/palm-doesnt-get-it.html

I'm thinking it's water under the bridge now. Nothing to see here. Go forth and develop.

-giovanni
http://twitter.com/giovanni

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Claimed Pre feature limitations...

soloman @ 6/3/2009 2:54:56 PM # Q
Can anyone speak to the issues he raised in his article about features that will not be included? Are there solutions Palm has on the Pre that are different than expected but still enable a user to accomplish those same tasks?

The following were called out:
- The browser will not support Adobe (ADBE) Flash on release
- many Sprint features users have grown accustomed to such as Sprint PictureMail, Sprint Music, and the Sprint Digital Lounge won't work on the Pre.
- For mobile Internet users, the ability to use your computer to access the Internet via the Pre, a method known as tethering, is not an option.


RE: Claimed Pre feature limitations...
bhartman34 @ 6/3/2009 5:08:32 PM # Q
soloman wrote:
Can anyone speak to the issues he raised in his article about features that will not be included? Are there solutions Palm has on the Pre that are different than expected but still enable a user to accomplish those same tasks?

The following were called out:
- The browser will not support Adobe (ADBE) Flash on release
- many Sprint features users have grown accustomed to such as Sprint PictureMail, Sprint Music, and the Sprint Digital Lounge won't work on the Pre.
- For mobile Internet users, the ability to use your computer to access the Internet via the Pre, a method known as tethering, is not an option.

The issue with Flash has been brought up before. I think it's safe to say that's true. But that point might be a little deceiving. First, no phone supports Flash. The most they support is Flash "Lite".

On the other hand, the Pre is supposed to support Flash by the end of the year, through their partnership w/ Adobe in the Open Screen Project.

As far as the tethering goes, it appears that the Pre won't support it. I suspect the phone technically supports it, but Sprint wants you to use one of their broadband dongles for your laptop, so if the Pre is capable of it in the hardware, it's probably disabled via firmware.

I have no idea about the Sprint-specific apps, but I suspect that certain of the apps you named will be irrelevant on the Pre.

1) I doubt PictureMail is very relevant on a phone that supports MMS.

2) Sprint Music is the same story. The Pre is only available with data-centric plans. Presumably, with one of those plans, you could just as easily stream Internet radio if you wanted to (e.g., Shoutcast).

RE: Claimed Pre feature limitations...
hkklife @ 6/3/2009 6:11:03 PM # Q
Palm reps were swearing up and down as early as the Pre's unveiling at CES that the phone fully supported tethering/DUN. They didn't specify in any way whatsoever if it would be limited nor did they act like they were fudging on their responses. I firmly believe that the lack of DUN support (Bluetooth or hardwired) is firmly a Sprint decision and nothing more.

Remember, even Sprint's initial Pre advertising up until Feb or March or so touted tethering as a supported feature (the Sprint ad in particular that I am thinking of with the yellow "flames" coming out of the Pre).


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->?

RE: Claimed Pre feature limitations...
nastebu @ 6/3/2009 6:32:12 PM # Q
No offense, but those three limitations concern nobody but the geek set. Very few people tether, and the Spring add ons haven't done a very good job of attracting customers so far, so it's silly to think the lack of said will drive them away. Flash, as been said, isn't on any phone really, and the lack of said flash hasn't hurt the iPhone.

What will drive people to the pre is the usability, the great screen and operating system, and, eventually, good, fun, third party apps.

Reply to this comment

Laughable

freakout @ 6/3/2009 5:27:08 PM # Q
There are so many ridiculous things in that piece, but this especially:

...combined with the minimal programming skills required to write applications for WebOS, might result in an abundance of poorly written apps hastily released by new developers trying to get in on the next smartphone gold rush.

In contrast, Apple and RIM keep tight control over the applications their developers create, and both have the advantage of a learning curve that weeds out unseasoned developers.

So apparently, being easy to develop for is actually a disadvantage now. Yeah, it "might" result in some crap apps. It "might" result in the world becoming a playful unicorn-ruled candyland, too. And Apple's "tight control" is the single most-complained about aspect of iPhone development! Yet still the App Store is full of fart apps and baby-shakers and million-dollar rubies.

Rubbish. Just rubbish.

RE: Laughable
gmayhak @ 6/3/2009 6:24:18 PM # Q
I remember 1 baby shaker app that they pulled, and 1 expensive jewel app that they pulled. Lots of fart apps but I see there's one in the PIC store for Palms too, probably because that's what some users want.
If anyone thinks that there aren't tons of great apps available for the iPhone they just haven't looked.
The article might not be that far off base, we'll see in a few day...

Tech Center Labs

RE: Laughable
nastebu @ 6/3/2009 6:28:49 PM # Q
The App store is also full of some really excellent applications. As a random my-needs-specific example, the choice of Japanese and Kanji learning aids and dictionaries rock, as does the soft keyboard with Japanese text entry. Complaining about the app store because of the fart apps is like refusing to watch anything but "Go Directly to Hell" and then insisting that all movies suck.
RE: Laughable
jca666us @ 6/3/2009 6:30:02 PM # Q
Freak, you are in no position to comment.

Since the Pre is so easy to develop for, write an app. for - and we can all see if it's any good.

As for Apple, yeah their certification process has been shitty at times, but now that they've added parental controls to the app store, it should allow the floodgates to open a bit more.

Until Palm supports a real programming language (javascript aint it) with their SDK, we'll be seeing plenty of apps. of limited utility hitting the Pre.

RE: Laughable
freakout @ 6/3/2009 7:11:50 PM # Q
gmayhak & nastebu: way to miss the point fellas. It's not that there aren't good apps available in the App Store (there's plenty), it's that Hurley cites Apple's "tight control" as an antidote to a flood crap apps. It isn't. It does nothing except annoy everyone involved.
RE: Laughable
gmayhak @ 6/3/2009 7:41:25 PM # Q
Maybe his point was that it will be hard to find a couple good apps in the flood? You were 'exaggerating' stating that the app store is full of baby shaker apps. so, could be, everyone has a agenda ;-)
I think a lot of Pre buyers will love it but I look for the best mobile computing platform that fits in a shirt pocket and it use to be Palm. Not any more, and especially not, because there isn't much there for developer to work with. The Pre is coming out of the gate as a smartphone that does what Palm/Sprint decided you need, period.


Tech Center Labs

RE: Laughable
twrock @ 6/4/2009 1:32:31 AM # Q
gmayhak wrote:
The Pre is coming out of the gate as a smartphone that does what Palm/Sprint decided you need, period.

Yes, that is true. And it was also true when some other smartphone by some other company first was released. :-)

Hey, but wait. Isn't Classic going to be available "real soon"? So I guess in some sort of cheater's way, the Pre is going to have "tens of thousands" of apps available almost immediately! (And that statement deserves a double smiley.)


Hey Palm! Where's my PDA with Wifi and phone capabilities?

RE: Laughable
bhartman34 @ 6/4/2009 5:35:38 AM # Q
The Pre is coming out of the gate as a smartphone that does what Palm/Sprint decided you need, period.

All smartphones do that, though. There were lots of things the iPhone was capable of that Apple didn't implement right out of the gate (e.g., cut & paste, MMS). It's understood by now that there are certain things that either the phone maker (for their own reasons, like "stability", or protecting third-party vendors) or the carrier (to protect various fee-based services) don't allow. It would be nice if Palm was different, but one shouldn't expect that, especially with the dire straits that they're in right now.

And all present indications seem to be that Palm will be much less anal about controlling development on the Palm than Apple was about the iPhone. They might not be releasing an SDK pre-launch (no pun intended ;)), but they're also not acting as wardens in a telephonic prison. I haven't read anything to suggest that the process to get your app on the Pre is going to be anything like the guantlet it is to get on to the iPhone.

RE: Laughable
jca666us @ 6/6/2009 4:38:12 AM # Q
>It's not that there aren't good apps available in the App Store (there's plenty),
>it's that Hurley cites Apple's "tight control" as an antidote to a flood crap apps.
>It isn't. It does nothing except annoy everyone involved.

Freak, part of Apple's "tight control" - i.e. - certification process is to minimize the likelihood of an app (crap or not) of crashing the iphone.

If you read Mossberg's review of the Pre, a Pre "app" he installed crashed his Pre and wiped all of the data from it - that definitely reminds me of my Palm IIIc days.

I don't believe many users are going to be too fond of a device that crashes and loses all of your data - even if you can restore things over the cloud.

I agree Apple may have gone a bit far by excluding apps for content, but now that OS 3.0 has parental controls, bring on the fart apps and the porno apps! :)

Reply to this comment

Whurley was a mole

erazer @ 6/3/2009 7:13:40 PM # Q
Why would he demand "involvement" from Palm in a grassroots effort before the SDK hasn't been released? He got kicked out after breaking the non disclosure he signed and the fact he wrote this badly thought-out hatchet job proves it--Apple is scared silly because they know the WebOS will render them obsolete on June 6.
RE: Whurley was a mole
ggallucci @ 6/6/2009 4:55:41 PM # Q
:-) Erazer - I'm pretty sure everyone at apple got plenty of rest last night. No-one in Cupertino is losing sleep over this just yet.

@giovanni

Reply to this comment

I think whurley has a point

grahamnind @ 6/4/2009 1:24:32 AM # Q
While the guy may have an axe to grind I don't think we can write off what he says about Palm disrespecting the developers. Datebook is, in the opinion of many, one of the best programs for Palm. The developer says that he repeatedly tried to contact them but they ignored him. He says this:

"It's frustrating because when Palm started out, it was head and shoulders above most companies I had ever dealt with before - open to suggestions, responsive, held useful developer seminars - encouraged developers to mingle with the Palm OS programmers in labs in the evenings, and I ended up with good relationships with key programmers who I knew I could always contact when I found some issue in the Palm OS. But it seems that Palm now has gotten to be more like many other companies, where marketing people are often calling the shots, where the developers are hidden behind closed doors, and where developers are treated as people who should be grateful for any anything they get, rather than treated as useful partners in promoting their products... "

I think his comments are very telling.

RE: I think whurley has a point
bhartman34 @ 6/6/2009 12:58:57 AM # Q
The DateBk developer may very well have a point. It does seem like some form of "suits" are controlling Palm at this point (although they sound to me more of the lawyer variety than the marketing variety). It seems as though Palm as of late has dropped the hammer on developers a few times when they thought that legal/sales issues were at stake (TealOS, anyone?).

Part of it is performance anxiety, I think. Feeling as though public perception could make or break your do-or-die product, and ultimately, your company, has a way of putting the fear of God into you, I'm sure. So there's an obvious tension between developers, who want to get to coding ASAP, so that they can hit the ground running when the Pre comes out, and Palm, which has an interest in keeping it under wraps as much as possible, until it's "ready".

My feeling about it is, if a developer isn't basing his/her entire career on Palm (and I imagine very few are, at this point, outside of Palm itself) and can develop for the iPhone, Blackberry, or whatever else, then what does it matter how long it takes? It's done when it's done. Rushing something out the door, or even disseminating information prematurely, could be bad for the product and the company.

And to be honest, in the grand scheme of things, Palm isn't that averse to developers, compared to other companies. People were hacking the hell out of their Palms before the iPod (let alone the iPhone) was a glimmer in Steve Jobs' eye. They know better than almost any company the added value of a dedicated developer fanbase. But they're playing it safe now. They're probably working under the assumption that it's better (at least for the launch) to have a smaller number of polished applications than to have a dozen koi ponds, 20 crossword games, and several dozen throwaway apps. I'm not saying that non-corporate developers can't code. In a way, I'm agreeing with whurley: The more people who have access to your technology, the more mediocre apps there will be for it. That's just how things work. It's not about how easy a device is to program, though. You can be a brilliant developer with a lousy idea, or a barely-competent developer with a brilliant idea. The efficient movement of 1's and 0's isn't what makes a good application.


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