Rumor: Palm CEO Rubinstein May Get Boot in Restructuring

By  |  Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

It seems as if these days, every story I’m writing on Palm is a negative one, and this one is no different. With the potential list of suitors for the ailing company dwindling, its list of distributors shrinking, and the company quickly burning through what money it has left, executives are getting restless.

In the last week alone, the company has lost two of its high-level executives, software senior vice president Michael Abbott (who went to Twitter), and now carrier marketing vice president Caitlin Spaan, one of the company’s most tenured employees. Not exactly sure here, but this unease at the executive level could be contributing to the latest rumor.

Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch reports on an “imminent” management shuffle and restructuring which may end up with the dismissal of Jon Rubinstein as the company’s CEO. Rubinstein was brought over from Apple to work on development of Palm’s newest devices and was elevated to the position of CEO in June of last year.

Rubinstein has been able to do little about Palm’s continued slide into near-irrelevancy, and has had a hard time finding a buyer for the company. Some are suggesting that his background in hardware and not management may make him unsuitable to lead Palm right now, and it may require somebody with a little more marketing know-how.

I’d argue that its not a matter of knowing how to market the company, it may just be that Palm has little value period. Its time may be long gone and without any marketable product, the value may be solely in the intellectual property it holds. If that’s the case, the $1 billion or so that the company is said to be looking for may be drastically more than anyone is willing to pay.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Rob Says:

    If Palm would just go back to making PDAs, particularly making them be what enthusiasts want, they might get back in the black. They abandoned their loyal fans for the smartphone market and got played by bigger/better/smarter/whatever companies. Most of their fans have probably moved on to other gadgets, so it may well be too late. I’m still nursing along my last Palm devices. iPod Touch might be a viable alternative for how I use such things, but I’m unsure about the touch only input. Anyway, I think Palm’s only play is to go for a niche.

  2. Klaus Says:

    I think PALM will survive, many users and developers want it to survive. Just look at good old Europe. People no longer buy iPhones because they are pissed-off by Apples protectionism – they buy Palm Pre and Palm Pixi. Same in France, same in Spain and Italy, also the same in Austria and Switzerland. Just because a product gets no adaption in America does not mean it does no adaption at all!

    Palm did many things perfectly right: they developed a brilliant OS with very interesting things to come (hardware accelerated CSS, new APIs), they gave their developers a great browser-based IDE, they made the AppCatalog open – but – they were too late and now they have to reach the point where they do not need to run after Apples iPhone / Googles Android… Question is: how long will the money last?

    Finance-people say Palm will reach its ROI in 2012…

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