View Poll Results: Was Palm's Partnership With Microsoft Their Worst Move Ever?

Voters
44. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes

    6 13.64%
  • No

    38 86.36%
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  1.    #1  
    When it happened a few years ago, it was a bit of a shock. Since then many of us got used to it and even may have or once had a WM based Palm device. But in terms of corporate moves by Palm and seeing the bad fiscal shape the company is in, do you think Palm's partnership with Microsoft was their worst move? I feel it was and while I could be wrong in my thinking here are a couple reasons why I feel this way:
    • Palm's time with MS took focus away from Palm working on more of their own new innovations. I feel things like WebOS would have been here much sooner if Palm were not spending time with MS these past few years.
    • Palm's WM based devices to my knowledge never had a really "hot seller". Palm's big sellers have been Palm OS based devices, like the Centro. Even after this many years, the Palm OS based device by Palm is the one that sells more.


    Given the points above, Palm focusing on continual improvements of their own OS and not spending time at all with MS probably could have resulted in devices over the past few years that were even better and may have sold better too.

    I'm not any sort of Palm OS loyalist at all, I've got a WM device. But I have had a number of Palm OS based devices in the past. Just looking at the history with the value of hindsight, it seems Palm's biggest mistake was the time and energy spent with Microsoft. It seems if Palm had continued focusing on their own efforts that they could have produced better than we've seen from them before the Pre and perhaps something like the Pre may have come sooner. I think in terms of sales, Palm may have sold more devices staying away from MS than having joined with MS, because we see the joining with MS left Palm with little hope of survival if Palm had not developed something new of its own. And I think working on new things of their own is what Palm is and was best at. It seems to me their teaming with MS derailed things a bit.

    But whether you agree or disagree, feel free to share your thoughts.
  2.    #2  
    So can some of the "No" voters please say what you feel the "worst" move might have been? I mean certainly Palm didn't get to this point by doing everything right. I feel the MS partnership made for a distraction, but I'd like to see some other viewpoints.
  3. #3  
    Another distraction could have been the Foleo.

    Good Luck
    iPhone 4S
    Former Treo & Storm Owner
    Cigar Lover
  4. #4  
    I don't know how anyone could think that anything but Palm's spinoff of PalmSource was its worst move ever. That's why they've been in the dark ages for so long and only now that they control their own software and hardware are things beginning to brighten again.

    In fact, one could easily argue that the only reason they had to start using WM was because they didn't have control of their operating system and it was getting dated very quickly.
  5. #5  
    I saw their team up with WM as a way to tide them over until they could bring their new game to the table.

    I like WM
    Just call me Berd.
  6.    #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by berdinkerdickle View Post
    I like WM
    I'm not saying WM is bad, I use it too . If I didn't like it I would not keep buying WM devices .

    But it just seems Palm didn't even break even during this time when they rolled out a number of WM devices. Their hottest seller is still a Palm OS device. So it just seems to me working on better Palm OS devices during the time and improvements might have worked out a little better. Palm's biggest center of revenue has been device sales and I figure they could have sold more if they had focused on devices with their OS.
  7. #7  
    I can't say it's the worst, more like 2nd worst. I don't think it was a good idea because it looked like abandonment of their tried and true OS that they should have been working on, had they not sold control over it. THAT was their worst move ever IMO. And even then they didn't even implement their first WM phone(700w) correctly. Only 32MB RAM when 64MB was the new minimum???
    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!
  8. #8  
    I would say the spinoff of Palm Source was the worst mistake ever.
    I think Windows Mobile wasn't THAT bad of a move. It probably made them enough profit to keep them afloat. (so to speak)
  9. #9  
    The spinoff of PalmSource, which resulted in losing control of the OS. WM broadened their market, particularly in enterprises.
  10. #10  
    I would say the spinoff of PalmSource was by far the worst move ever- WinMo was an unfortunate necessity to remain in the higher-end business, I think, as Garnet wasn't cutting it, and the spinoff had made it difficult for Palm to improve the OS on their own.
    Palm T|X and Palm Centro (VZW)
  11. #11  
    I'd say yes it was the worst move ever .... but if it were not for the 700wx Palm might have folded in 2007 / early 2008.

    I think the energy Palm directed at developing WM devices would have been better spent getting WebOS out much sooner, making Blazer much better and putting Chatter in the ROM of the Centro.
    Pilot 1000 -> Pilot 5000 ->Palm Pilot Professional -> HP 620LX -> TRG Pro -> Palm V -> Palm Vx -> Palm M505 -> Palm i705 -> Palm Tungsten|T -> Samsung i500 -> Treo 600->Treo 650 -> Treo 600-> Treo 700p ->Centro ->Treo 800w + Redfly C8n -> Palm Pre -> HP Touchpad
    R.I.P Palm 1996-2011
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by darnell View Post
    But in terms of corporate moves by Palm and seeing the bad fiscal shape the company is in, do you think Palm's partnership with Microsoft was their worst move? I feel it was and while I could be wrong in my thinking here are a couple reasons why I feel this way:
    You're entitled to your opinion but Palm has made alot of business mistakes and the Microsoft hardware decision can not be blamed for poor judgement and lacking corporate leadership.

    Quote Originally Posted by darnell View Post
    [*]Palm's time with MS took focus away from Palm working on more of their own new innovations. I feel things like WebOS would have been here much sooner if Palm were not spending time with MS these past few years
    Palm stopped innovating after the invention of the original Palm Pilot and Palm OS. After that, they were just responding to the market. What innovation did Palm author after the Palm Pilot? They added color screens, more memory, extenal storage cards, and revised styling but there was no innovation. These things were added to the orginal Palm formula after Windows Mobile devices had done the same. This has nothing to do with Microsoft. They were late with Wifi, external storage, and 3G. Is this Microsoft's fault? Where was the innovation and corporate leadership in directing the growth and development of the Palm hardware and OS? They had years to drive this issue before they offered the first WM Treo!

    I will give Palm credit for the Handspring Treo and I come up with only two innovations since founding. The Pre would be the third. It doesn't seem like Palm wanted to continue to innovate. They had plenty of opportunities before jumping into bed with Microsoft.

    Quote Originally Posted by darnell View Post
    [*]Palm's WM based devices to my knowledge never had a really "hot seller". Palm's big sellers have been Palm OS based devices, like the Centro. Even after this many years, the Palm OS based device by Palm is the one that sells more.
    And the Centro brought how much profit to Palms coffers? Very little if any. So what. The Centro was Palm's best mobile phone device in sales. It means very little if this "hot seller" isn't enough to keep staff onboard and fund new development. How did Microsoft cause this to happen? One thing the MS Treos and Palm Treos did have were higher profit margins. The Centro sold well mostly because of the price point. They were almost giving them away.

    Quote Originally Posted by darnell View Post
    Given the points above, Palm focusing on continual improvements of their own OS and not spending time at all with MS probably could have resulted in devices over the past few years that were even better and may have sold better too.
    A well run corporate entity can create a clear roadmap and execute. Palm's roadmap looked like the path a drunken chicken would make after stepping into a puddle of ink (that ink appears to be red too). Furthermore, one must display some form of leadership to command marketshare. Much of what Palm did after the original Palm and before mating up with Microsoft was incremental improvements and no innovations outside of the Handspring Treo were realized.

    Quote Originally Posted by darnell View Post
    I'm not any sort of Palm OS loyalist at all, I've got a WM device. But I have had a number of Palm OS based devices in the past. Just looking at the history with the value of hindsight, it seems Palm's biggest mistake was the time and energy spent with Microsoft. It seems if Palm had continued focusing on their own efforts that they could have produced better than we've seen from them before the Pre and perhaps something like the Pre may have come sooner. I think in terms of sales, Palm may have sold more devices staying away from MS than having joined with MS, because we see the joining with MS left Palm with little hope of survival if Palm had not developed something new of its own. And I think working on new things of their own is what Palm is and was best at. It seems to me their teaming with MS derailed things a bit.
    When I look back, I see:

    Palm OS PDAs
    - The TX came along with a large high resolution screen, BT, & Wifi way too late...atleast 3 years after WM put these things together. Doesn't sound like Palm can blame MS for that.
    - Wifi....there, I said it again. Why was Palm afraid of Wifi?
    - Once the original Palm Pilot hit the market, Palm was satified with just tweaking it here and there. The next product was good but there was little innovation in each design evolution. It is like the situation WM now faces.
    - The Lifedrive was the answer to a question very few people asked.

    Palm/Handspring Mobile Phones
    - Bluetooth and a cellular radio? Where is the Wifi?
    - Industrial design. After the first and second itterations of the Treo, Palm got too complacent in the design department. Everything else looked like a regurgitation of the same whether you are talking about Palm or MS based phones.

    Business Decisions
    - Palm / Palmsource Split. As RIM and Apple proved, sucess comes from controling both the hardware and software sides of the business to provide one integrated, polished device. The split was a bad idea that they are correcting with the Pre.
    - Buying back the license to Palm OS 5. At this time, they should've been moving on to what's next instead of trying to breath new life into an old OS.
    - Palm Zen. Palm was so full of oneself that they were not willing to push the edge of the envelope. They were so convinced that the solution they created in the 90s was perfect that when others were adding features, they were pushing back against the trend. Stagnation. Every product they brought to the market was just a slow evolution of what they did before.
    - Foleo. Enough said.
    - No true multitasking OS.

    Whether Windows Mobile was a distraction or not is not clear but Palm has more to answer for than this issue. Your position seems to ignore all the mis-steps Palm made leading up to and after becoming a Windows Mobile device supplier.

    Palm is like a beat-up loosing boxer....it threw its arms around a competitor to stop the punches and hold its self up temporarly. The beat down caused them to embrace MS and not the other way around. Now that they have a new sense of direction, maybe they'll come out fighting. For how long, remains to be seen.
    Last edited by pgh1969pa; 02/05/2009 at 11:01 AM.
  13.    #13  
    Hi pgh1969pa, thanks for your comment. I've been enjoying seeing discussion about what everyone feels might have been Palm's greatest error, regardless of what we feel the greatest was. It's good to see the viewpoints that are being shared, all information with considering.

    I was wondering about what you mentioned regarding the Centro.

    Quote Originally Posted by pgh1969pa View Post
    They were almost giving them away.
    Actually isn't it the carriers who are almost giving them away with steep discounts of their own, that are not Palm discounts? Palm still sells the unlocked Centro for $299. Yes it's cheaper than their other devices, but when you sell 2 million of something that goes for about half the price of other devices, isn't that still better than not even selling a million of another more expensive device?
  14. #14  
    Actually, I think the MS devices probably kept Palm alive while they worked on the Linux stuff (which seems to have gone through a couple of iterations). I don't see it as a distraction. Two different groups doing two different things.

    Moving the WinMob developers onto the WebOS side wouldn't have helped speed it up. And licensing WinMob (and even making a few mods) is a lot cheaper and easier than developing a new OS from scratch.

    Now then, doing TWO separate Linux efforts (Foleo and WebOS) was probably a drag on their resources, especially given that all the money spent on the Foleo was pretty much wasted.

    Quote Originally Posted by darnell View Post
    Actually isn't it the carriers who are almost giving them away with steep discounts of their own, that are not Palm discounts? Palm still sells the unlocked Centro for $299. Yes it's cheaper than their other devices, but when you sell 2 million of something that goes for about half the price of other devices, isn't that still better than not even selling a million of another more expensive device?
    Not if selling it for half the price means you lose money on every device you sell. I'm not saying that's the case, but when you factor in all the costs associate with making and selling the device, Palm may not be making much, or any, money on the Centro. I suspect they sell few unlocked devices directly, and the price they get from the phone companies is probably way les than $299.
    Last edited by meyerweb; 02/05/2009 at 11:23 AM.
    Bob Meyer
    I'm out of my mind. But feel free to leave a message.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by darnell View Post
    Hi pgh1969pa, thanks for your comment. I've been enjoying seeing discussion about what everyone feels might have been Palm's greatest error, regardless of what we feel the greatest was. It's good to see the viewpoints that are being shared, all information with considering.

    I was wondering about what you mentioned regarding the Centro.



    Actually isn't it the carriers who are almost giving them away with steep discounts of their own, that are not Palm discounts? Palm still sells the unlocked Centro for $299. Yes it's cheaper than their other devices, but when you sell 2 million of something that goes for about half the price of other devices, isn't that still better than not even selling a million of another more expensive device?
    I agree, the carriers were subsidizing the Centro like the sun was not going to come up tomorrow. Keep in mind, to get to low entry price the carriers got to (as low as $50), they had to be getting some serious pricing concessions from Palm. Assuming carriers will subsidize $200.00 of the phone's cost like many other devices, that should get us to $99 and not $49. Why would AT&T go to $250 at times on the Centro when they were doing $200 elsewhere?

    I could be wrong on this point but I really think the only thing the Centro did for Palm is hold on to marketshare and keep investors from totally writing Palm off.
    Last edited by pgh1969pa; 02/05/2009 at 11:52 AM.
  16. #16  
    the Palm Source move was comprehensively idiotic.

    It was one of those "innovations" born by wiz kidz MBAs -- largely to "unlock" shareholder value -- but rationalized as a way to promote the POS ecosystem.

    A complete failure on every level.

    Then when Palm Source was trading for nothing, Palm waited for Access to acquire them, and then was forced to license back Garnet (at a big loss).

    The Fooleo. nuff said.

    Not providing Desktop sync or memory expansion shows that Palm hasn't stopped being stupid either.
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  17. #17  
    PGH, two comments on your post:

    First, you keep harping on wi-fi. The reason why the P-OS Treos never included wi-fi is well known. P-OS won't handle three radios (phone, BT and Wi-Fi). I suspect it's more than that, as Palm could have left out BT. I don't think they could ever make P-OS work decently with cellular and wi-fi together. Palm offered wi-fi on some PDAs, and on some Windows phones, so I don't think it was a lack of desire.

    And I wouldn't give Palm any credit for the Treo. It was created by an entirely separate company, Handspring, which Palm later bought. And, true to form, they showed no ability to innovate off that platform. Year after year the changes were minor, and mostly just incorporating what others had done before (EVDO, higher res, more memory, no external antenna hardly count as innovations.)
    Bob Meyer
    I'm out of my mind. But feel free to leave a message.
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by meyerweb View Post
    they showed no ability to innovate off that platform. Year after year the changes were minor,
    I Agree.
    for example - Basically the same PIMS as they had in the PalmPilot in 1996.
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by pgh1969pa View Post
    And the Centro brought how much profit to Palms coffers? Very little if any. So what.
    Is this really the case? It seems to me constanly pumpinout out a device, for which all the R&D has been paid for. wiht diminishing costs in software, hardware, support would kily be very profitable.

    Unless you know Palms per unit cost and how much they were sellign them to the carriers we can't say they were low profit given the volume.

    What we do know is the low sales price was a carrier decision regardless of cost to the carrier. It is an entry level smarptphone which means you are up selling on plans so you can really really subsidize the handset and recover on usually substantially the users monthly fees for 24 months.

    If you go from a centro to a Pro or an instinct to Touch you aren't upping your plan, but if you go from a razr or whatever to a centro you are going to be way more prfitable to your carrier.

    Palm and Sprint have a replacement now, the Pre, it is position to the fat middle, the people the centro formerly served, so for that market the centro was an excellent play. Yo have to keep your brand out there.


    Quote Originally Posted by pgh1969pa View Post
    Palm is like a beat-up loosing boxer....it threw its arms around a competitor to stop the punches and hold its self up temporarly.
    I dont really see that analogy. Palm OS and OSweb are not really in the same category as WM. Plams brand is more tied to its devices than its OS in the consumer mind.

    I think for years and years the average person using a palm was not saying "I am running Palm", they are saying "I have a palm" and when they had a palm on WM they were still "thinking I have a palm."

    I would bet that 95% of people with laptops, if you said, are you running vista or xp would say: "oh, it is a dell. "

    Here is one to get everyone saying "whoa": I think you may see the new pre form factor on a Palm WM device in a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by berdinkerdickle View Post
    I like WM
    You me and a million enterprise IT managers!
  20. TazUk's Avatar
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    #20  
    If Palm didn't decide to license Windows Mobile they would still not have any 3G GSM devices, the Pre would be the first
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