Amid Tough Times, Rubinstein Remains Committed To Palm’s Success

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News Posted: Sat, Apr 10 2010 12:14 PM
Palm has faced more than its fair share of setbacks in the past several months including disappointing sales of the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus with Verizon Wireless, revenue shortfalls, and rumors that the company might be sold. Many people are wondering if Palm has a future, and if so, what that future looks like. Recently, CEO Jon Rubinstein sat down with Fortune's Adam Lashinsky and put his cards on the table.

Rubinstein was relatively candid in the interview, and admitted the smartphone maker has "hit a speed bump." When asked about a potential buyout, Rubinstein skirted the issue and said Palm has "$590 million in the bank" and "a plan to take us to profitability." Even with some cash and a plan, however, he admitted that the company will "have to be frugal to survive."

When talking about the disappointing sales figures with the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus on Verizon Wireless, Rubinstein suggested one of the major failures was insufficient training of Verizon's in-store sales staff. To help with this issue, Rubinstein has dispatched brand ambassadors into Verizon stores to help train the staff on webOS and Palm products.

Many people are wondering if Palm has a new phone or a major update for WebOS as part of its plan to survive. Rubinstein wouldn't give any specifics during the interview, but he did say that Palm is continuing to invest in engineering for both WebOS and new product development. He also defended WebOS, calling it "arguably the best mobile operating system out there," and pointed out that it offers "real multitasking," capabilities to share and edit video, Synergy, and immersive 3D gaming.

Rubinstein made it clear in the interview that he believes Palm still has a good chance of turning things around and becoming successful again. What do you think? Will the company survive on its own, or will another company come along and buy them out? Would a new WebOS phone help the company's chances of survival?
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RyuGTX replied on Sun, Apr 11 2010 1:31 AM

I wonder how they came to the conclusion that one of the major failures was because of insufficient training in Verizon's in-store sales staff. Or maybe their suggestion that this is one of the major problems is a shot in the dark as to why they are doing poorly.

I don't walk into the Verizon store often, but when I do to get a new phone (like every 2+ years) I ask for recommendations based on a few important factors that I put forth to the sales staff. Have I ever been recommended a Palm product? No. Maybe I'm a bad sample, but people generally recommend what they have a biased toward or what they believe in. This is based on the fact that I and my co-workers recommend particular brands in a pc build (like Corsair memory/power supplies, Gigabyte motherboards, etc.). So based on this, I think it is safe to assume this happens in a lot of places including Verizon stores. I could be wrong for various reasons though... Like a bonus in the next paycheck to sales associates for selling a particular product. I hope that the guys at Palm did their homework and this is indeed a major problem because it is expensive to train people.

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realneil replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 2:42 PM

They're putting themselves up for sale, about it here. Big Smile

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Yeah when walking into a Verizon store you fell like the one saying to the staff,..... Can you hear me now!

An open source web OS that works on any phone, they would hit gold.

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