Almost exactly four years ago, I attended a press conference in San Francisco at which Bill Gates and Palm CEO Ed Colligan announced that Palm was going to start selling Treo smartphones running Windows Mobile. It was one of those decisions that made rational business sense at the time but which was all wrong emotionally: It was just plain sad that Palm, one of the greatest mobile software companies ever, had to adopt the not-very-exciting Windows Mobile to appeal to business types. (I tried to like the WinMobile Treos: I even bought an unsubsidized one to replace my Palm OS-based Treo 650. But it was neither a great Treo nor a great Windows Mobile device, and I ended up selling it after a few months.)
Today, Gearlog’s Sascha Segan notes that current Palm CEO Jon Rubenstein said during Palm’s earnings call today that the company won’t be making any more Windows Mobile phones–starting with the Pre and Pixi, it’s betting everything on its own WebOS. Which isn’t the least bit surprising given Windows Mobile’s diminished state. This time around, the hard-nosed business move is also the one that feels truest to Palm’s character as a company.