A recent report by Standard&Poor’s names Palm one of the few companies endangered by the current sub-prime crisis. I personally am not surprised – here is why I think that Palm is the worst possible place for money invested into mobile computing.
We best – ignore industry trends
In the last years, Palm has repeatedly ignored industry trends. As an example, let’s take proper web browsing. Insider sources have told me that Opera repeatedly approached Palm with an offer to create a web browser for the platform…only to be ignored.
Palm seems to live by the NIH syndrome – if it’s not invented here, it sucks.
We don’t need money – ignoring the Palm faithful
While we all agree that the PDA is a dying breed of handheld, I wonder why Palm doesn’t offer a step-gap solution for its customers. HP still offers PDA’s, and furthermore offers smartphones that combine big rectangular screens with a keyboard and a phone.
We gamble – betting all on one form factor
Continued from above: if Palm wants to make smartphones only, why do they have to bet it all on one form factor. Yes, the Treo is well-done – but it takes many phones to make a world. Why not offer a touchscreen-only device, a flip phone and a slide-out keyboard one?
This diversification of the platform would make selling Palm devices (and the Palm experience) much easier. Instead of forcing customers down one road, why not let them choose which way they wish to go?
We great – kicking third-party developers in the butt
The final – and very grievous – topic involves Palm’s handling of its developers and enthusiasts. Web sites like the PocketPC FAQ have existed for ages; developers have created PocketPCfoo apps enhancing the operating system.
Palm, on the other hand, feels that this is not needed. In fact, it even is impossible to advertise products for Treo on AdSense nowadays – if that isn’t an effective way to slow down the Palm ecosystem, what is?
In the end, it all comes down to the age-old problem of self reflection and proactive management. Palm’s management seems to lack both capabilities: the company’s recent life can be described as luck and turmoil (IMHO). Palm needs to refocus on its old core values of “being the platform that works best” – unless they do that quickly, we can IMHO short their stock…
What do you think?