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  1. vw2002's Avatar
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    #281  
    what would I do to fix things?
    I'd have come out with 4 high end smartphones this year - one might be either a flip treo or a slideout keyboard ( vertical or horizontal) one would be the sherlock, another would be without a keyboard, displaying a huge screen. The fourth would be a treo-like phone, with a new design - larger screen. all would run evdo, gps, wifi, loud speakerphones, bluetooth, blackberry connect, and maybe sirius satellite media.


    I wouldn't release a palm os based phone again until the damn thing was crash proof and stable as the blackberry. I'd wait until the os or new linux line was out of the beta phase before releasing it to the "early adopters". Corporations don't deploy unstable devices directed at early adopters - this is what I think happened to the treo. I would also offer the 750 as a middle range device - at the same time as the 4 other high end handsets. I would try to do so on cdma and gsm carriers simultaneously, not sprint first, then cingular or verizon 6-8 months later - THAT was also a poor strategy.


    The idea here being you would offer a variety of high end devices , so as to offer people options to choose from based on personal preference.. Stop the low end devices until you've got a stronger grasp on the business market. I don't think low end is very profitable anyway. I would release new phones more frequently, so that people wouldn't have to wait so long to upgrade - these wait periods allow customers to be wooed by competitors - another reason why palm is hurting.

    By offering diversity and frequent REVOLUTIONARY upgrades, you protect business from competition - palm never did this. They were incremental and that hurt them. There's nothing wrong with continuing to offer the proven treo form factor each year, but the point is you have to offer OTHER new devices as well, with new designs, so that the product tree has several branches, not just one single line. it costs money to make money. I think palm was too conservative and minimalist to compete long term in this space.
    Last edited by vw2002; 03/07/2007 at 12:01 PM.
    I gotta have more cowbell
  2. #282  
    Quote Originally Posted by vw2002 View Post
    what would I do to fix things?.........
    Your thesis seems to be that the problem was that EC did not do enough and spend enough. The sub-thesis would be that good intentions and money are sufficient.

    First, there was and is no money. The investment bankers have lost confidence. Look at the market price of the stock. That is the best measure of one's ability to raise money. Your "fix" requires more, not to say, new, investment.

    Second, money is not enough. You must have a capability, talent organized into effective teams, around core knowledge. Palm's capability, purchased by the way, was the Treo. In a sense, they have done what you asked. While they have stayed with the Treo form factor, they have taken it in many directions. The product line is now fragmented, each fragment has its own problems, and each problem is draining diminishing resources.

    My strategy would have been to "stick to your knitting," exploit your core competence. I would have focused on a minimalist but excellent product line. I would have exploited POS and its hundreds of applications. I would have, like Apple, chosen a radio strategy of my own, probably (like Apple) GSM with Wi-Fi, satisfying end-users rather than trying to be all things to all carriers.

    If there was a single strategic blunder it was to market through and satisfy carriers at the expense of end-users.

    Palm seems to have taken a middle course, between my strategy and yours. The result is that things are in little pieces all over the floor. So, now, management is trying to sweep everything into a pile that is attractive to one of their competitors. Having spent thousands of dollars on their products, only to find myself at a dead-end, and having lost other thousands on their stock, I am, to say the least, disappointed.

    Of course, I liked the DeLorean too. Perhaps excellence of product does not make a viable strategy.
    Last edited by whmurray; 03/07/2007 at 08:27 AM.
  3. vw2002's Avatar
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    #283  
    I understand your points, but look at what rimm and nokia are doing right now. They are both offering diversity as well as stability in their smartphones.

    The end user has several types of form factors to choose from in the blackberry, AND, most importantly, they have choices among RELIABLE devices. They have nowhere near the problems with resets that palm devices have.

    palm should have focused on their operating system as well - this should have been a no brainer for a brainiac like hawkins or the ceo EC. would this have required stockloads of cash to achieve? debatable.

    hawkins has stated that palm has LOTS of cash and is in the best position its ever been (this is a dubious claim though) they have cash, they simply have NO IDEA how to use it wisely.
    I disagree that being all things to all carriers is a flaw.
    I don't think there's anything wrong with reaching out to a number of carriers - you are introducing your product to more potential customers this way - more business.

    the problems lie in the failures to focus on improving product stability as well as innovating for wider consumer appeal. Outdated technology (no wifi, etc) can only undercut your prospects. we have seen this clearly in palm's case.
    I gotta have more cowbell
  4. #284  
    I think its clear Palm has been very reluctant to spend money on technology. I don't think this is due to a lack of resources, but a part of their philosophy, that great technology does not make a great product, and to give the user just enough, but not too much.

    This worked well for them in the 1990's, but the question is if this philosophy is viable in the 21st century.

    Surur
  5. #285  
    Quote Originally Posted by vw2002 View Post
    I understand your points, but look at what rimm and nokia are doing right now. They are both offering diversity as well as stability in their smartphones...........
    Agreed. However, RIMM is well focused on its core competence. Also look at its stock price. While they do not seem to need new investment, they would have little difficulty raising it. RIMM achieves device stability by limiting functionality. Those who buy Treos value the architecture that is open to hundreds to thousands of additional apps. If one runs only the PIM applications that come with a Treo, one will have stability.

    Nokia enjoys 50% market share for smartphones and the economies of scale that come with it. Palm has 5% share; strategies that are available to Nokia will strain Palm, not to say, rip it apart.

    One can make a case that Palm's unstable devices result from the fragmentation of their line and the number of carriers that they are trying to support.

    I sympahthize with EC. Like good design, Hawkins forte, Corporate strategy is difficult. It is a lot easier to criticise than to do.
  6. #286  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    I think its clear Palm has been very reluctant to spend money on technology. I don't think this is due to a lack of resources, but a part of their philosophy, that great technology does not make a great product, and to give the user just enough, but not too much.

    This worked well for them in the 1990's, but the question is if this philosophy is viable in the 21st century.

    Surur
    In the 1990s they were innovating, creating an entire new technology with little competition. They could probably do the same today but that is not what they are doing. They are competing poorly with the market leaders.

    If not technology and not price, what edge do they have?

    I am listening to Treocast 14 where they say that it is not management that wants to sell but investors. At the current market price, that is easy to understand.
  7. #287  
    Quote Originally Posted by vw2002 View Post
    I give palm 2 years before they either close up shop or are acquired.
    next year their market share will shrink to 3.0 to 3.5%, and the year after that will be 2% to 2.5%. They will actually begin to lose money with each new product I think.
    I'm afraid the sherlock will be something like the qqq, where it ends up to be popular only among a small niche of power users. The other treos sales will continue to be undermined by subsequent motorola q and blackberry smartphones like the 8300.
    I honestly can't see palm having any type of future on their own short term. Resting on one's laurels has always been a formula for failure, and this has been palm's approach regarding the area of product innovation and diversity.
    I hate to say it, but its a dead man walking.
    I do not think that this positive outlook is justified.
  8. #288  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray View Post
    In the 1990s they were innovating, creating an entire new technology with little competition. They could probably do the same today but that is not what they are doing. They are competing poorly with the market leaders.

    If not technology and not price, what edge do they have?
    They had a good idea in the 1990's. Even then however their devices were using old technology. They were using B&W screens when their competitors were using colour, they were using double digit processors when their competitors were using treble digits, they were using single digit ram when their competitors were using double digits. Their OS even then was old and single tasking, when their competitors like Psion and of course win Ce had proper multi-tasking OS's.

    Their edge was never technology, so no wonder they are not convinced they need to invest in it now.

    Surur
  9. #289  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    They had a good idea in the 1990's. Even then however their devices were using old technology. They were using B&W screens when their competitors were using colour, they were using double digit processors when their competitors were using treble digits, they were using single digit ram when their competitors were using double digits. Their OS even then was old and single tasking, when their competitors like Psion and of course win Ce had proper multi-tasking OS's.

    Their edge was never technology, so no wonder they are not convinced they need to invest in it now.

    Surur
    Okay, I give up, you win. Will you grant me that then they had long battery life and low price? Now they have the 680 and $5-700 prices.
  10. #290  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray View Post
    First, there was and is no money.
    You mean other than the $500 million cash they're sitting on? How much do you think they need?

    http://finance.google.com/finance?fstype=bi&cid=664304
  11. #291  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray View Post
    Okay, I give up, you win. Will you grant me that then they had long battery life and low price? Now they have the 680 and $5-700 prices.
    I think Palm was making an electronic organizer, while its competitors were making mobile computers. I wonder when exactly Palm changed their mind and started calling themselves a mobile computer company, but its relatively recently.

    Surur
  12. #292  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim View Post
    You mean other than the $500 million cash they're sitting on? How much do you think they need?

    http://finance.google.com/finance?fstype=bi&cid=664304
    Not sure. For the strategy proposed by vw2002, quite a bit. Of course, that cash props up the market price and makes Palm a more attractive acquisition.

    However, as I suggested in my response to him, money is not enough and capability cannot be bought or built over night. I am sure that if EC knew how to use that cash to reverse his falling sales and share, he would do so. It might get the investors off his back.

    He says that he is not interested in being acquired and is committed to executiing "his strategy." Those here do not seem to appreciate that strategy.

    On the bright side, Treo is gaining share against RIMM on RIMM's home turf, Canada. Treo's share increased about 13% while RIMM's decreased about the same amount. One wag suggested that four Canadians shifted to Treo.
  13. vw2002's Avatar
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    #293  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray View Post
    Not sure. For the strategy proposed by vw2002, quite a bit. Of course, that cash props up the market price and makes Palm a more attractive acquisition.

    However, as I suggested in my response to him, money is not enough and capability cannot be bought or built over night. I am sure that if EC knew how to use that cash to reverse his falling sales and share, he would do so. It might get the investors off his back.

    He says that he is not interested in being acquired and is committed to executiing "his strategy." Those here do not seem to appreciate that strategy.

    On the bright side, Treo is gaining share against RIMM on RIMM's home turf, Canada. Treo's share increased about 13% while RIMM's decreased about the same amount. One wag suggested that four Canadians shifted to Treo.

    Its true that the strategy I proposed requires cash, but there was a time a few years ago when palm`s stock price hovered between $35 and $45. At that point, palm had considerably more money at their disposal. Now lets look at what they spent it on:

    1) Wasted valuable time and energy on mickey mouse tinkerings like changing the company names, hiring a marketing company to design a freaking logo, the company colors, etc.. Come on!

    2) Changed their name only to turn around to buy back rights to their own former name again! Ed, please!

    3) Sold palmsource - the foundation which their product runs upon - only to have to turn around and buy a portion of it back again! Ed! Lights are on, but there was nobody at the wheel!

    My confidence in Ed Colligan`s stewardship was really shaken when we began to hear the level of irresponsibility in the "tactical or logistical" moves listed above.

    These are examples of palm`s characteristic tendency to squander the precious capital they DO have on inane projects vs investing it in the critical product development and proper market strategy needed to move themselves forward! You never see behavior like this at RIMM or NOKIA. Its like watching an episode of the keystone cops! Shockingly poor judgment.

    Got to go, but this is just the start of my misgivings with EC.
    Last edited by vw2002; 03/07/2007 at 01:44 PM.
    I gotta have more cowbell
  14. #294  
    It is ineteresting how many of these discussions, regardless of where they start, expose Palm's strategy and end up talking about that.
  15. vw2002's Avatar
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    #295  
    I think these are prime examples of why palm spiralled off track though, would you not agree?

    Since we are talking about having enough cash for certain strategies to improve palm, I think the capital palm would have saved had they avoided these boneheaded moves would have been considerable, to say the least, no?

    In addition, whmurray, investors who would have witnessed palm making wiser investments in R&D, might have been more encouraged to think palm was a tightly run company, which operated with a clearer focus and a well planned business model. That might have translated into more positive rating on their stock price - garnering more investors to buy. Higher stock values possibly.

    Granted, it is easier to criticize than to do. There are always monday morning quarterbacks, but i dont think it would have taken a seer or a genious to avoid the gross mistakes that palm has made in the past, just common sense. I think that is where it begins and ends at palm.
    Last edited by vw2002; 03/07/2007 at 01:41 PM.
    I gotta have more cowbell
  16. #296  
    IMHO, what Palm could/should have done would have been so simple.

    First don't break up the company. That ONLY made sense if there was going to be other platforms using PalmOS not owned by Palm and, although that might have been the thought at the beginning, it was painfully obvious by the time the PalmSource split took place that that was not going to be the case. The only other reason to do it was to artificially pump up somebody's stock options. In either case, whoever thought this one up should have been shot out of a cannon with no net. The millions spent in having to buy back what was sold is almost as funny as the confusion that resulted over the names and who was making what. BONE-HEAD


    Second, Palm never understood the REAL attaction of the Blackberry. Push email was big for end users, but they did not make the decision what to buy. What was the key factor for the real decision makers is that it was ***** proof and that is what the IT guys at big companies wanted. Plam could have easily come out with a Treo that was loaded with all the apps that business folks needed, power-programs that BBs didnt have built in, real web-browsing, plus a few goodies like some games but be "closed" to 3rd-Party apps, or at least very-very restricted (ie only new apps that could be put on would have to come directly from Palm). That would be horrible for most people that are on this site, but that is what business and government wanted. I personally know the guy that made the decision to order thousands of Blackberries for the State of Missouri. HE was a Treo user, but it scared the heck out of him to think about all the problems he would have as guys loaded the 15th version of Tetris on their phones that caused conflicts, resets and lock-ups. He wanted phones that would all have the exact same apps on them all the time so he didnt have to worry about it. This "simple" treo should have had no camera, maybe not even an SD card. I would not have wanted it, but it could have been a BB killer early on.

    Next, different form factors. The Treo form factor is great for me, but some people dont want a keyboard. How hard would it have been to come up with something like the I-Phone with a bigger screen and virtual keyboard when needed. somepeople like the slider type. To me a very good form factor would have been like the old Treo 300 without the flip top, thinner, wider, but with hi-res screen, similar to the original BB, but would have been so much more powerfull. This is to some extent a smoke-and-mirrors kind of trick. It makes it look like you have more products than you really do, and it works for a lot of companies. As it is now, Palm actually has gone the other way. It looks like they only have ONE Treo product when they actually have several. This hurts the perception in the market and with investors.

    Embracing the developers and putting apps on that people want/need on the phone to begin with. One just needs to look at this board to come up with a dozen or so apps that SHOULD be included on any Treo. KBLights off, Volume Care, Dial by Photo, Chattermail, Directory Asst, Backup Buddy, any one of the several great launchers, a REAL calander/contact program and so forth. We all get them and thats great, but Palm should have built-in a number of these apps into the Treo, some stuff is so obvious it it embarassing - I mean a BACKUP PROGRAM???

    Interestingly, NONE of this would have required much, if any, any new hardware or OS development and not a lot of money. It would have just taken a bit better understanding of the market. We here at this board would be complaining that they really are not comming up with anything new, just changing how things look and dumbing-down the treo for business, but they would be a stronger company today.

    I have not given up on Palm, the Treo is still the best out there, but others are now close or even and they have bigger momentum, so Palm better get off their behinds and do more!

    Thanks, just needed to rant a bit!
  17. #297  
    Quote Originally Posted by vw2002 View Post
    what would I do to fix things?
    I'd have come out with 4 high end smartphones this year - one might be either a flip treo or a slideout keyboard ( vertical or horizontal) one would be the sherlock, another would be without a keyboard, displaying a huge screen. The fourth would be a treo-like phone, with a new design - larger screen. all would run evdo, gps, wifi, loud speakerphones, bluetooth, blackberry connect, and maybe sirius satellite media.


    I wouldn't release a palm os based phone again until the damn thing was crash proof and stable as the blackberry. I'd wait until the os or new linux line was out of the beta phase before releasing it to the "early adopters". Corporations don't deploy unstable devices directed at early adopters - this is what I think happened to the treo. I would also offer the 750 as a middle range device - at the same time as the 4 other high end handsets. I would try to do so on cdma and gsm carriers simultaneously, not sprint first, then cingular or verizon 6-8 months later - THAT was also a poor strategy.


    The idea here being you would offer a variety of high end devices , so as to offer people options to choose from based on personal preference.. Stop the low end devices until you've got a stronger grasp on the business market. I don't think low end is very profitable anyway. I would release new phones more frequently, so that people wouldn't have to wait so long to upgrade - these wait periods allow customers to be wooed by competitors - another reason why palm is hurting.

    By offering diversity and frequent REVOLUTIONARY upgrades, you protect business from competition - palm never did this. They were incremental and that hurt them. There's nothing wrong with continuing to offer the proven treo form factor each year, but the point is you have to offer OTHER new devices as well, with new designs, so that the product tree has several branches, not just one single line. it costs money to make money. I think palm was too conservative and minimalist to compete long term in this space.
    Great post!
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  18. #298  
    Quote Originally Posted by vw2002 View Post
    Its true that the strategy I proposed requires cash, but there was a time a few years ago when palm`s stock price hovered between $35 and $45. At that point, palm had considerably more money at their disposal. Now lets look at what they spent it on:

    1) Wasted valuable time and energy on mickey mouse tinkerings like changing the company names, hiring a marketing company to design a freaking logo, the company colors, etc.. Come on!

    2) Changed their name only to turn around to buy back rights to their own former name again! Ed, please!

    3) Sold palmsource - the foundation which their product runs upon - only to have to turn around and buy a portion of it back again! Ed! Lights are on, but there was nobody at the wheel!

    My confidence in Ed Colligan`s stewardship was really shaken when we began to hear the level of irresponsibility in the "tactical or logistical" moves listed above.

    These are examples of palm`s characteristic tendency to squander the precious capital they DO have on inane projects vs investing it in the critical product development and proper market strategy needed to move themselves forward! You never see behavior like this at RIMM or NOKIA. Its like watching an episode of the keystone cops! Shockingly poor judgment.

    Got to go, but this is just the start of my misgivings with EC.
    Gotta agree with you again!! They messed up what was exclusive to them and lost their edge. When they went to WM, I pretty much thought it was almost the end of the line for them. I hope that other thread is correct and that they are going to attempt to gain back their identity with unique products. WM can be found elsewhere!
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  19. #299  
    Quote Originally Posted by midmofan View Post
    IMHO, what Palm could/should have done would have been so simple.

    First don't break up the company. That ONLY made sense if there was going to be other platforms using PalmOS not owned by Palm and, although that might have been the thought at the beginning, it was painfully obvious by the time the PalmSource split took place that that was not going to be the case. The only other reason to do it was to artificially pump up somebody's stock options. In either case, whoever thought this one up should have been shot out of a cannon with no net. The millions spent in having to buy back what was sold is almost as funny as the confusion that resulted over the names and who was making what. BONE-HEAD


    Second, Palm never understood the REAL attaction of the Blackberry. Push email was big for end users, but they did not make the decision what to buy. What was the key factor for the real decision makers is that it was ***** proof and that is what the IT guys at big companies wanted. Plam could have easily come out with a Treo that was loaded with all the apps that business folks needed, power-programs that BBs didnt have built in, real web-browsing, plus a few goodies like some games but be "closed" to 3rd-Party apps, or at least very-very restricted (ie only new apps that could be put on would have to come directly from Palm). That would be horrible for most people that are on this site, but that is what business and government wanted. I personally know the guy that made the decision to order thousands of Blackberries for the State of Missouri. HE was a Treo user, but it scared the heck out of him to think about all the problems he would have as guys loaded the 15th version of Tetris on their phones that caused conflicts, resets and lock-ups. He wanted phones that would all have the exact same apps on them all the time so he didnt have to worry about it. This "simple" treo should have had no camera, maybe not even an SD card. I would not have wanted it, but it could have been a BB killer early on.

    Next, different form factors. The Treo form factor is great for me, but some people dont want a keyboard. How hard would it have been to come up with something like the I-Phone with a bigger screen and virtual keyboard when needed. somepeople like the slider type. To me a very good form factor would have been like the old Treo 300 without the flip top, thinner, wider, but with hi-res screen, similar to the original BB, but would have been so much more powerfull. This is to some extent a smoke-and-mirrors kind of trick. It makes it look like you have more products than you really do, and it works for a lot of companies. As it is now, Palm actually has gone the other way. It looks like they only have ONE Treo product when they actually have several. This hurts the perception in the market and with investors.

    Embracing the developers and putting apps on that people want/need on the phone to begin with. One just needs to look at this board to come up with a dozen or so apps that SHOULD be included on any Treo. KBLights off, Volume Care, Dial by Photo, Chattermail, Directory Asst, Backup Buddy, any one of the several great launchers, a REAL calander/contact program and so forth. We all get them and thats great, but Palm should have built-in a number of these apps into the Treo, some stuff is so obvious it it embarassing - I mean a BACKUP PROGRAM???

    Interestingly, NONE of this would have required much, if any, any new hardware or OS development and not a lot of money. It would have just taken a bit better understanding of the market. We here at this board would be complaining that they really are not comming up with anything new, just changing how things look and dumbing-down the treo for business, but they would be a stronger company today.

    I have not given up on Palm, the Treo is still the best out there, but others are now close or even and they have bigger momentum, so Palm better get off their behinds and do more!

    Thanks, just needed to rant a bit!
    Sorry for quoting the whole post, but its just that great. The funny thing is Palm can still do these things. In fact, they still NEED to do these things, and soon. I suspect however the next Treo will just look like the last Treo.

    Surur
  20. #300  
    The one thing I disagree with him on is the closed system. Some 3rd party apps on phones like these are often necessary.

    Some examples. World Mate for those who travel on business constantly, for instance. A good English dictionary. A language dictionary for those who travel. A currency converter. Mileage calculator. I could go on. Many 3rd party apps are frivolous, but not all.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!

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