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Steve Sakoman Leaves PalmSource

The Register is reporting that Steve Sakoman has left PalmSource amidst the recent job cuts. Sakoman was the Chief Products Officer for PalmSource and previously held positions at Be Inc and Apple. The Reg also claims he was a key member of the team developing Palm OS 6.

Steve's executive bio explains that he was responsible for product marketing, engineering, and developer relations. He joined PalmSource with the acquisition of Be Incorporated in November 2001. Steve co-founded Be in 1990 and was the chief operating officer and served on the board of directors.

Prior to co-founding Be, he was a director of CPU development from 1984 to 1987 at Apple Computer, where he managed the hardware group responsible for the Apple II and Macintosh product lines. Steve also started and managed the Newton development team from 1987 to 1990.

PalmSource recently cut 18% of it's workforce, citing weak economic conditions. PalmSource could not be reached in time for this article. It's not clear at this time why Sakoman left or what impact it will have on PalmSource.

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Jumped ship or pushed?

Gekko @ 2/20/2003 11:08:19 AM #
hmmmmmmmmmmmmn.

RE: Jumped ship or pushed?
drw @ 2/20/2003 7:44:33 PM #
Hasn't MSFT had it's share of big names leaving (via early retirement to live on their options)?

---
David
RE: Jumped ship or pushed?
TobyG @ 2/21/2003 10:03:20 AM #
No doubt. I was reading an interesting commentary by one of them this morning.
http://www.synthesist.net/writing/onleavingms.html

RE: Jumped ship or pushed?
Gekko @ 2/21/2003 7:58:40 PM #

Palm OS6

StatCoder.com @ 2/20/2003 11:32:45 AM #
I'm not sure we should expect Palm OS 6 anytime soon. New PDA's are coming out with Palm OS 4, still. Palm OS 5 PDA's aren't suffering from a big performance gap compared to Pocket PC. Why rock the compatibility boat with a new release when so much of the hardware and software market is lagging behind. This company is fighting for its life, right now.

To me, the OS battleground seems to be price and connectivity rather than processing power.

RE: Palm OS6
mikemusick @ 2/20/2003 12:30:01 PM #
Agreed. (No) thanks to Sony, we are already waging an uphill battle trying to make customers happy covering all the platform variants. OS 6 will stir the application compatibility pot yet again. Frankly, I'd like about a year off to be able to actually work on improving my software rather than putting out OS- and new-hardware-induced fires. Not that I'm going to get it, but one can dream... :-(

RE: Palm OS6
palmdiva @ 2/20/2003 1:09:41 PM #
In speaking with other consumers from the mid range users to non techie power users, the biggest issue for us isn't the OS. It's the memory. I don't see myself upgrading from from my current T615c clie to any other palm OS hardware, until one comes out with at least 32mb. Running applications from an SD or MS still isn't always feasible. I really think the low price pocket pc's with at least 32mb of memory will cause quite a few people that I have spoken to to switch more so than the features. I use an IPAQ to access the company network which to me is really its chief advantage. I really think my husband will most likely switch to a dell or a IPAQ 1910 just for the additional memory. So give us more memory, the ability to run appls from cards and more compatible OS 5 programs before thinking about OS 6.

RE: Palm OS6
frauen1 @ 2/20/2003 1:14:10 PM #
I don't totally agree with this sentiment - product development life cycles, component costs, carrier verification, market forces - all of these are driving the design and availability of "traditional" dragonball-based devices versus ARM-based. Also engineering/power concerns. I can understand why there is a device transition as opposed to a quick cut-off.

As to OS 6, I'm going to take the timing of when PalmSource 2003 is going to take place as an indicator of when it will be ready to market (in the past, Palm/PalmSource seem to have coordinated the timing of the conference to provide some developer "head's up". No guarantee, but I think this will hold here.). They will be announcing some dates Real Soon Now (according to http://www.palmsource.com/events).

As to Steve Sakoman leaving - it's a same, but I hope it doesn't lead to an exodus. He may have had less ability to drive his own direction than he wanted (once you've drunk the wine of the gods, you have a hard time going back to the beer of the common man ;) ). Big names come and go, as long as the products keep moving forward it's good. There are names that if I heard they were leaving PalmSource I'd be worried - this isn't one of them. All I wish for him is success in his future endeavors.

32 megs
palmwiz @ 2/20/2003 3:30:24 PM #
The Garmin iQue 3600 has 32 megs.

RE: Palm OS6
Fammy @ 2/20/2003 4:17:50 PM #
Here's a thought. Maybe they should have annouced OS6 as OS5.5. It's major update, but not something HUGE, completely different (even if it is). OS5 took us to ARM, OS5.5 would take us to pure ARM.

I don't know. It's just an idea. Marketing people usually have another (crazier idea).

We're on Pentium what now? (4 is the answer). Pentium implies 5, as in 586. That's marketing for ya.

_____
Fammy

RE: Palm OS6
rsc1000 @ 2/20/2003 9:14:14 PM #
I don't see OS 6 compatibilty issues as a huge problem for developers or users. Correct me if i'm wrong somebody - but isn't OS 6 = OS 5 (ARM recompiled OS4.1 code + PACE) + new API/OS Framework? Will there be any compatibility issues if it is - in fact - using the exact same OS 5 API / PACE emulation as OS5? I think they are just adding here - keeping 'OS 5' as the backward-compatibility layer of the new OS. That's my speculation.

RE: Palm OS6
polymath @ 2/21/2003 5:30:45 AM #
"In speaking with other consumers from the mid range users to non techie power users, the biggest issue for us isn't the OS. It's the memory. I don't see myself upgrading from from my current T615c clie to any other palm OS hardware, until one comes out with at least 32mb. Running applications from an SD or MS still isn't always feasible. I really think the low price pocket pc's with at least 32mb of memory will cause quite a few people that I have spoken to to switch more so than the features. I use an IPAQ to access the company network which to me is really its chief advantage. "

This is not an issue for the new OS5 Palm devices. In fact, there are a number of programs that are launched almost instantaneously even when you are launching them from the card. Others will take 1 to 2 seconds, but then most PPC programs are not famous for fast launching anyway.

I have Sony Clie NX and still have more than 5MB of RAM available (even including Netfront browser).

This RAM comparison is way overblown and beats to death in my book. If you look at typical program size, you come to realize that 16MB of RAM in Palm is equivalent to about 64 to 96 MB of RAM in PPC since typical program size difference is about 4 to 6 times.

RE: Palm OS6
polymath @ 2/21/2003 5:36:37 AM #
BTW, mid to non-techies I know don't ever use up 16MB of RAM. They have close to 8MB of RAM free even after loading a bunch of games and other programs. In order to use up 15MB of available RAM in typical Palm mid-range (OS4.1) devices, you really have to load quite a few programs.

RE: Palm OS6
TobyG @ 2/21/2003 10:05:22 AM #
"Here's a thought. Maybe they should have annouced OS6 as OS5.5. It's major update, but not something HUGE, completely different (even if it is). OS5 took us to ARM, OS5.5 would take us to pure ARM."

Actually, if you look at old announcements about it, they didn't start off calling it OS 6. They bandied about doing just that (calling it OS 5.something). Once everyone else started talking about it as OS 6, though, they really have a hard time not calling it OS 6 just so as not to create more confusion about it.

Room for other egos now

RhinoSteve @ 2/20/2003 2:29:58 PM #
While Steve was a great designer and leader, the transition into the Palm world was a rough one for him. The best description I heard of Palm corporate culture was "Apple Computer after a 12 Step Program." With Palm, you are making a good product that people find useful. You are not trying to change the world hiding a social engineering agenda a la Apple.

The harsh reality of a consumer electronics market company can definately burst the bubble of those from the academic / idealistic / Berkeley crowd that formed a lot of the early executive core of Apple that the "Steve plethoria" represented. The Be acquisition into Palm while profitable for Be, definately had them purge a few ideals.

I take this as not a bad sign for PalmSource but as a showing that the "Apple-types" have lost out on steering the boat.

RE: Room for other egos now
EdH @ 2/20/2003 3:57:55 PM #
>With Palm, you are making a good product that people find useful. You are not trying to change the world hiding a social engineering agenda a la Apple.

Oh no. Not Palm. No Zen, simple mantra going on there. Nope. Not a bit of social engineering.

RE: Room for other egos now
Scott R @ 2/20/2003 10:33:39 PM #
Speaking of social engineering...MS just hosted their MVP fanfest last week, didn't they?

RE: Room for other egos now
EdH @ 2/21/2003 10:45:27 AM #
>Speaking of social engineering...MS just hosted their MVP fanfest last week, didn't they?
Yeah, and when you have a clue about it, we can discuss it.

RE: Room for other egos now
Admin @ 2/21/2003 11:10:51 AM #
DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS ;)
RE: Room for other egos now
Scott R @ 2/22/2003 10:06:49 AM #
Well, since I'm not under any NDA, I can discuss it all I want. Ah, glorious freedom.

Scott

RE: Room for other egos now
RhinoSteve @ 2/22/2003 4:28:03 PM #
Also keep in mind almost all NDA's can be invalidated in court for one reason or another. Most of them can be only viewed as Promissary Notes.

RE: Room for other egos now
hotpaw4 @ 2/23/2003 4:59:09 PM #
someone wrote:
>Oh no. Not Palm. No Zen, simple mantra going on there. Nope. Not a bit of social engineering.

How a company works internally (engineering, logistics, etc.), and how it presents itself via marketing, are not necessarily related.

What was interesting about Apple (at least during certain portions of its history) was that the same reality distortion field affected both marketing and engineering people.

What about Gassee?!

mikecane @ 2/20/2003 3:21:07 PM #
Is he still on the board?! Hey, they probably could have saved those employees if Benhamou had jumped! Please, jump!!

Better job

mikeymikey @ 2/22/2003 9:26:10 AM #
Bet he's going to work for MS or Symbian

RE: Better job
RhinoSteve @ 2/22/2003 4:29:29 PM #
Actually, knowing Steve, he is either going to retire, become a consulting exec or some start up that suits his fancy.


CIC is why Steve left

cicifan @ 2/24/2003 6:39:15 AM #
Opinion of course but think about it.

Graffiti 2 powered by Jot is just the start of new product lines, again my opinion. But just like the comments about Jot, newpen, etc one should look at the big picture as you all know. CIC has all of PALM's needed business software for wireless. Plus CIC has a base of R&D folks in China who are working w/Tsinghua University. CIC also works closely with a company by the name of Florentis. CIC also has all the patents needed for HWR & their products.

This is a good business decision by Palmsource pure and simple.

www.florentis.com see www.cic.com/press about Tsinghua Univ

Good luck in all your investing and PDA'ing!

RE: CIC is why Steve left
RhinoSteve @ 2/24/2003 2:40:27 PM #
This makes even more sense. The old Apple Guard has a big "not invented here" mindset. The mass exodus of OS9 systems guys after BSD Unix came in is a perfect example of that.

With this, I wouldn't be surprise at all his name pops up on a founders list for some high profile start up with lots of advertising glitz and a more-trendy-than-thou name in a year or so.

Let the sipping of lattes around the Stanford campus begin!

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