Saturday, January 10, 2009

Palm Tells Current Customers To Get Lost!

Palm Inc: Bean-counters with rotten souls

I recently went on a business roadtrip with a friend who had a brand-new IPod Touch he gently hinted--at the beginning of our journey--was so much better than my not-even-a-year-old Palm TX. Without fail, I was able to download and send email, update a blog and check the news from every two-bit, podunk town across six western states, while he was left wondering if he even *had* email literally 98% of the time.

And my TX had the same usefullness and functionality on the streets and in the cafes, restaurants and hotels of Amsterdam and Berlin. My phone wouldn't work there. I didn't even take it and got along fine--never out of touch. I like my TX. It's far more useful than a phone with a screen the size of an ant's butt.

Yesterday, Palm announced their new "Palm Web OS" operating system. A linux-based OS that is incompatible with all their current devices.

Today, it is obvious that all Palm development and the vast majority of, if not all, third-party development for my Palm TX--which recently celebrated it's FIRST birthday in our home--has just come to a screeching halt. I know now that I will never see a decent browser for it, (Opera comes close--no cigar).

Palm has stated they have no plans to continue their PDA line. It's rather like parents kicking a child out of the house because they had a new baby.

For the past year or so, Palm has stated the new operating system--then codenamed "Nova"--would support legacy applications from Palm OS 5. It doesn't. Seems to me they were less than ingenuous--I can't believe it was simply, somehow, a sudden surprise to them that there is no legacy support. Perhaps they didn't want potential--and current--customers gravitating to competitor's products?

"It won't natively run applications written for the original Palm OS, but," [Palm vice-president, Stephane] Maes said "we anticipate there will be solutions to do so."

Note she doesn't say, "We're working on it." Personally, I anticipate they will leave it up to third-party developers, as usual.

If you have been a Palm customer in the past and you buy their new product, you will have to pony up big bucks to replace all your old applications with software that does pretty-much the same thing in their new gadget. Dastardly. You still won't have Graffiti, though. The new Palm Web OS does not feature Graffiti--one of the most useful features of the former Palm OS.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Palm to come up with any additional, breathtaking apps or simple, reasonable improvements for their new OS. They have a history of sitting on their hands about such things, (I have long suspected that they suffer--as a group--from Attention Deficit Disorder.)

They have, for example, consistently refused to release an SDHC card driver for Palm OS 5, leaving it up to an unassociated third-party to finally get around to doing so. Palm's built-in browzer "Blazer" was a laughably horrible application from the beginning and in four years Palm did nothing to reasonably improve it.

There is every reason to believe they will hold their new customers in equal contempt.

I expect to be using my TX for years yet, despite the fact that Palm has just thrown me--a recent customer--to the wolves in favor of profit. I will keep in mind they have done this once now, and Palm has given me no reason to believe other than they will do it again to millions of customers down the road if it suits their purposes to do so. They have shown they cannot be trusted. They have shown that they care nothing for the consumers who--collectively--spend millions of hard-earned dollars on Palm's products and third-party software for those products.

I, therefore, will never again do business with Palm. I will use smoke signals or semaphore flags first. Fool me once...

The bottom line is: it's all about the "bottom line." After the Palm Web OS announcement, Palm stock soared a whopping 35%.

Palm--indeed most corporations--feel no loyalty to, nor regard for their millions of customers. They answer only to their stockholders and don't give a fig about anyone else.

If everyone felt the way I do, voiced their disapproval, and took the same actions, corporations would never treat the public so.

If you agree, write Palm a quick email expressing your disapproval. If you don't agree, you are, alas, part of the problem.


  1. Well written. Same sentiments here. We were a multiple-Palm-PDA family, but never again.

    In addition to Blazer, I felt screwed by the fact that they dropped the Java VM within weeks after I got my Palm Centro.

  2. Love my Palm Tungsten E2. Just got it (December)after my original Tungsten wore out. Really disappointed they aren't going to continue to support them. I loved it's ease of use, the graffiti app (extremely easy & useful)and the ebooks (loved always having a book handy anywhere, anytime).

  3. Palm should just open source its Palm OS and let the world support it now. It clearly has no more revenue value for them. Of course they won't do this, because then people would not be motivated to discard their Palm OS devices and buy a new "Palm Web OS" device.

  4. They can't open source Palm OS...they don't own it.

  5. Well they might not be able to opensource Palm OS. They can, and should opensource their hardware calls for the Palm TX. The Hackndev community would have a fully working Linux operating system for it within a couple of weeks. I want an opensource device and would love to use my TX as more than a paperweight.

  6. Reminds me of when I had to migrate to Palm many years ago because Psion (which was a far superior PDA in every respect but with an inept marketing department) was killed off by the success of Palm. And now Palm's staggering incompetence and arrogance will lead to them being killed off by the iPhone (and other devices).

    It's a shame as I love my Palm TX and many of the applications on it. I will just buy a second TX and use them until they wear out but I will never again buy anything from Palm .. that is even if they last that long, which I doubt.

    They have totally alienated their customer base and will hopelessly lose their battle against iPhone, Nokia and the rest.

    This announcement is just the beginning of the end for Palm. My advice is to stock up on your favourite Palms and make sure you have your data backed up in several locations!

  7. If you love your TX, why do you think you will hate the Pre? You haven't given it a fair trial yet.

    The PDA is not dead--they just come with a phone built in now. You can turn the phone part off.

    Since the original posting things have changed. I think we are closer to a way to run old apps, and a way to get contacts and calendar data in has been mentioned.

  8. Anonymous said... 8

    "If you love your TX, why do you think you will hate the Pre? You haven't given it a fair trial yet.The PDA is not dead--they just come with a phone built in now. You can turn the phone part off."

    Did you actually read my article? Apprently not.

    I don't even mention the Pre, let alone state an emotion for it one way or the other. Do not put words in my mouth.

    Let me summarize my article for the neuron-impaired:

    Palm never produced decent software for the Palm--all the good stuff was 3rd party--they lied when they said the new software would support legacy apps out of the box and they completely dropped what pathetically passed for support for the old PDA line.

    Palm Inc is not getting any more of my hard-won buckolas because they care nothing for the 20 million customers they've already screwed and they can't be trusted not to screw 20 million more.

    Understand the article before you comment.

    "Since the original posting things have changed. I think we are closer to a way to run old apps, and a way to get contacts and calendar data in has been mentioned."

    Ah, you think so, do you?

    Well, since you're so into vaporware, I've got a hot deal on some prime acreage on Venus that will be worth millions after we terraform the planet. You won't want to pass up a bargain like this.

    Get out your checkbook.