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Head of OS Group Leaving Palm

Alan Kessler, the General manager of Palm's Platform Solutions Group, has resigned and will be leaving the company effective tomorrow. He has been in charge of the part of the company that develops the Palm OS platform and licenses it to other makers of handheld computers.

Eric Benhamou, chairman of the Palm Board of directors and a member of the Platform Solutions Group Committee of the board, will act as the temprary head of the Group until a permanent replacement is named.

"We thank Alan for his contributions to Palm and wish him all the best,'' said Palm' CEO Carl Yankowski. "Our developers have grown from 20,000 to more than 165,000 under his leadership, and he's managed the successful introductions of Palm OS's 3.5 and 4.0, and the addition of several important licensees.''

It is unlikely this will have any real effect on Palm's efforts to spin its OS development area off into a subsidiary. This process is already being handled by David C. Nagel. According a spokesperson for Palm, Mr. Kessler, Mr. Yankowski, and Palm's Board of Direcors all agreed that someone else needed to be in charge of the new OS subsidiary.

"Palm is a great company with an exciting future, and I'm honored to have served here since prior to the company spinning off from 3Com,'' said Mr. Kessler. "I'm ready, however, to move on to a new challenge.''

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Why the sudden fleeing?

james_sorenson @ 8/16/2001 12:41:45 PM #
Whoa! Why is he leaving so suddenly before a replacement is found? Is he upset with Palm, or did he just get an offer he can't refuse from someone else? Well, I wish Palm luck in finding someone as capable as him. Does anyone know if he wrote a message about his reasons for leaving anywhere?

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James Sorenson
RE: Why the sudden fleeing?
Ed @ 8/16/2001 1:18:30 PM #
This is entirely speculation on my part but it is possible that he's not leaving willingly. Numerous people, like stock analysts, have complained that Palm's development of its OS moves too slowly. When the head of a department that is getting lots of complaints resigns, I always wonder if they were pressured to do so.

Maybe they'll bring in someone new who will kick OS development into high gear and can get OS 5 out the door before late 2002.

Not to say Mr. Kessler didn't do a good job, I'm just not sure he did a good enough job.

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News Editor

RE: Why the sudden fleeing?
AriB @ 8/16/2001 1:49:27 PM #
someone new like the Be guys?

RE: Why the sudden fleeing?
Ed @ 8/16/2001 2:28:31 PM #
The article on this at Cnet says, "Kessler, Yankowski and Palm's board all agreed that someone else was needed to head the OS unit." So he may or may not have been forced out but his departure seems to be good news for the company, however it happened.

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News Editor
RE: Why the sudden fleeing?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/16/2001 11:23:59 PM #
It seems likely that Kessler was forced out. While it is true that the Palm OS has seen only minor enhancements over the last few years, this was mostly due to Palm's decision to continue to use the Motorola DragonBall processor. They should have begun work on an enhanced OS with the Intel StrongARM two years ago and gradually made the transition, offering a high end and low end line. Palm was drinking too much of their own Kool-aid in thinking simplicity was always going to be they way to go. I guess the Palm guys never watched Star Trek. Now we face a full year before OS 5 comes out, at which time all previous Palms will begin to look dated. The purchase of Be was not just coincidental with Kessler's departure. The Palm OS offers little in the way of multimedia or multitasking, which the Be guys know how to do. The Be guys will be running the show in developing OS 5.

RE: Why the sudden fleeing?
AriB @ 8/17/2001 1:00:21 AM #
they've been working on moving to ARM since October 1999. They demoed PalmOS 3.5 running on ARM in October 2000. You can't just say "Oh we're going to move to ARM" without preparing an upgrade plan and backward compatibility with all the apps out there.

RE: Why the sudden fleeing?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 4:31:14 PM #
It would be cool if Jean-Louis Gassée stays on after the transition and takes over the Platform division. Palm needs a dynamic, technical person with a huge ego to push things along-- essentially a mini-Jobs.


RE: Why the sudden fleeing?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 9:55:56 PM #
Jobs is an egomaniac who killed an insanely great PDA in its infancy and has never been able to grow Apple past a single digit share of the PC market. If JLG is as good as Jobs we'll all be using PPC's a year from now.

RE: Why the sudden fleeing?
Ia3n @ 8/18/2001 2:04:55 AM #
Apple would be dead by now if not for Jobs. He didn't take a platform with 75% market share and kill it. He took a very crippled platform and brought it back from the brink.
We'll only all be using PPCs by next year if we all ditch Palm.

RE: Why the sudden fleeing?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 10:59:21 AM #
Bunk. Jobs made some disasterously poor strategic decisions early on in Apple's life that never allowed the platform to gain a significant share. This should not have been hard given the fact that the Mac OS was (and still is) superior to Windows. Then he killed Newton which Apple might have easily developed into a Palm killer. He's a charlatan.

Kessler cash out with millions...

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 10:00:43 AM #
RE: Kessler cash out with thousands...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 10:46:29 AM #
I think you need to check your math. He sold 658 shares at $7.15 which comes to $4,704.70. He has 1,315 shares left. Assuming he can also sell them at $7.15, he'll net $14,106.25. Wow, almost $15,000, still $985,893.75 short of a million dollars. Not exactly a platinum parachute.

Looks like he sold 150-300k shares/options for $8M+...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 11:00:20 AM #
in Sep 2000 according to the above link. Not a bad golden parachute especially given the destruction of shareholder value that he and the rest of Palm management inflicted upon the long-suffering Palm shareholders. At Palm, he had the shortest executive career since that Pope that got poisoned. You can bet if Yankowski gets axed, he too will reap millions.

And that's only as of March 2001. His severance package
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 1:25:28 PM #
is probably sweet!

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