Mourning the loss of Palm, Inc.

Palm, Inc. was a great company, in that they gave us the Palm Pilot PDA. This was the front-runner to the “Smartphone”, as they took their Palm device and integrated a cell phone to create the Palm Treo. The problem with Palm, is that they became stagnant in technology development after the Treo which allowed others to catch up and surpass them. Microsoft, Apple, and Google just picked up the ball and ran with it to create several highly successful devices (which we can’t seem to live without these days), while Palm floundered on the side lines for whatever reason.

I’ve visited the Palm headquarters in Sunnyvale three times now for WebOS developer conferences and they seem like a group of sharp people. So what was the problem? Why didn’t they flourish during the infancy of the Smartphone era which they helped to start?

All I can think of, is that their management languished and couldn’t move the ball forward. Maybe it became a game of keeping the stock price up and not a game of developing new technology. Who knows. It’s just a shame that a once great company gets bought out by HP, and then shutdown. I know there’s still a grass root effort to keep WebOS alive with some support by HP and the developer community, but I don’t think it will last very long considering there are no new commercial devices being released with the WebOS operating system running them.

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