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Heads rolling at Palm? Nope...
Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Foleo is gone at Palm. It's a good move, as it seemed that this thing wasn't getting any traction in the hand-held gadget world.

One has to wonder, though, how a product that didn't quite fit anywhere make it so far.

I'm not sure that an "oops" message will be enough to appease shareholders. The Foleo was a $10 million mistake: it's a mistake that is 2.5% of revenues of Palm's last quarter, as reported on google's finance site. But it's all good: "This is a lot of money, but it is a small price relative to the costs that would be required to support two platforms going forward."'s a small price to pay...

Someone will have to answer really tough questions at the next shareholders' meeting. Some question that are likely to be asked:
  • Who authorized the development of the Foleo?

  • How are we managing innovation inside of the company?

  • What is our market focus?
These are probably tamed, but one has to wonder why it took so long to realize the following (as written by Palm's CEO on Palm's blog): "Foleo is based on second platform and a separate development environment, and we need to focus our efforts on one platform. Our own evaluation and early market feedback were telling us that we still have a number of improvements to make Foleo a world-class product, and we can not afford to make those improvements on a platform that is not central to our core focus. That would not be right for our customers or for our developer community."

Their own early market research identified some red flags, yet they continue development? Of course, we don't know the whole story, but a red flag is a red flag.

On the positive side, innovation thrives in organization where everyone is allowed to make mistakes. I don't mean just any mistake, but calculated risk taking is part of any innovative high-tech organization. And so Jeff Hawkins and Ed Colligan are planning for a Foleo II. They know that the Foleo II has to be way better than any of the smart phones to be available then: I really don't think RIM is just sitting on their success to date; and it is likely the iPhone will get better and better; on top of that, google is likely to release their own google phone.

Ed, let me tell you, the competition will be tough.

On a side note, it is interesting to look at historical news reports about the Foleo. There were some reports that its release was going to be delayed. To the rescue came Jim Christensen, director of communications, stating that the rumors were false. But then, Ed said that the core OS was going to be delayed until next year. And now, the project is canceled. Crazy stuff...

11:30 PM | 0 comment(s) |


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