Palm has come a long way — it was one of the first entrants into PDA technology. After the '90s, Palm continued its dominance with the evolution into smart phones, but they were eventually dethroned by BlackBerry and then iPhone, with others, followed suit in surpassing Palm's inability to fix itself.
The primary issue with Palm was that the world changed, and the company failed to change with it. Relying on older hardware designs, older operating system code, and poor interaction with third-party developers
Palm failed with their marketing tactics: to put it simply, they sucked. Commercial advertising for the Palm Pre failed to inspire, and, if anything, made people shy away from the product. It was creepy, and it certainly didn't require a genius to figure this out — everyday consumers were complaining about these marketing efforts as well, yet Palm didn't respond. In fact, they ignored it and stated that they were effective.
Yet the most concerning part, and the one that is really the dagger in the chest, is the the fact that developers were not interested in Palm's efforts. The Web OS needed that support from developers for it to go anywhere, but the company really failed to bring those developers in and provide them with the tools necessary to do that.
While Google and Apple were constantly generating excitement and opportunity for their platforms, Palm seemingly did little, if anything at all— almost like they were expecting developers to flock to their platform on their own.
Without third-party developers, any platform, no matter how amazing, is utterly pointless. It makes me question why Palm even went through the effort of creating this amazing platform if they had little drive to follow through with it? It doesn't make sense.
Perhaps one of the last saving graces for Palm's 900 or so employees would be for the company to be acquired by its competition. It would not be the slightest bit surprising if it was Google that made an offer, especially when considering how much effort Palm put in to create their operating system with Web technologies in mind. Plus, it is very likely that Palm's woes will be continuing for quite awhile.
Before that, though, the company should move to Google's Android operating system and put up a fight by creating a unique interface over the OS while designing amazing hardware (let's not forget that the Pre was born from the minds of former Apple employees).
After all, I would be quite interested in picking up a Palm Pre that featured the Android OS. It would have the backing of third-party developers, an excellent keyboard for typing, and a unique design that, while not perfect, is very good.
The issue is that, unfortunately, the company has showed no interest or willingness to move to Android, a move that could really help the company to get back in the black. What executives need to realize is that it is all about survival now, and sometimes that requires putting aside pride, especially if it is the best thing the company can do to survive another day.
But, until that day, we are left with a broken and battered company that lacks direction, focus, innovation, and everything else necessary for a company to succeed.
Disappointing? You bet. Also, criticizing others and analyzing the past isn't going to make things any better.