The smartphone maker placed all its hopes on webOS, but no one cares about operating systems anymore, at least not directly -- we buy user interfaces and apps.
My initial analysis of Palm’s Pre handset at announcement in January of last year was that, yes, it’s cool, but (a) why announce it so far in advance of availability (almost never a good idea with technology products), and (b) there’s no clear sustainable competitive advantage.
Indeed, it seemed that Palm was committing the ultimate cardinal sin of pushing technological innovation for its own sake, without having all of the pieces in place, and riding on the coolness coattails of the iPhone. Speaking of, and to be fair, the iPhone itself has gone through three iterations so far, with another likely this year, and it too was missing the giant app library and key enterprise features at announcement. Many consequently, I think, ignored Palm’s fundamental disadvantages, not realizing that times had changed.
I write this column as a fan of Palm. I’ve owned many Palm products over the years, including a couple of Pilots and a Treo 650. I worked with Palm founder Jeff Hawkins at GRiD Systems in the early ‘80s, and I thought the initial model that he showed me at Palm’s first announcement was innovative, groundbreaking, just plain cool, and a perfect fit for the emerging market demand for an organizer that really worked. Palm also produced one of the first integrated PDA phones, and, again, there was that Treo 650, a truly great product perfect for its time.
But that was then, as they say, and this is now. I’m not a financial analyst, but I was amazed at the runup in Palm’s stock from a low of $1.42 on 9 December 2008 to a peak of $17.46 on September 30th, 2009. This made no sense. Again, where was the sustainable competitive advantage? In cost? In distribution? In apps? In what?
Alas, there really wasn’t much there. As I write this, Palm’s stock is in the middle of a precipitous dive based on dismal financial performance, mostly the result of poor sales of its new handsets. They’ve got a ton of unsold inventory that needs to be blown out. Some financial analysts are predicting that Palm will fail entirely.
That’s not going to happen. But Palm did place all of its hopes on yet another proprietary mobile operating system, webOS, and that was the company's undoing. No one cares about operating systems anymore, at least not directly -- rather, we buy user interfaces and apps.
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
The UC Infrastructure TrapWorries about subpar networks tanking unified communications programs could be valid: Thirty-one percent of respondents have rolled capabilities out to less than 10% of users vs. 21% delivering UC to 76% or more. Is low uptake a result of strained infrastructures delivering poor performance?
InformationWeek Tech Digest August 03, 2015The networking industry agrees that software-defined networking is the way of the future. So where are all the deployments? We take a look at where SDN is being deployed and what's getting in the way of deployments.