Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Save Me – December 18, 2007

Palm, Inc is in a world of trouble. Not only does it get its lunch money stolen by Apple and Blackberry, but there is no reassuring statement from the CEO that Palm will once again prevail. The Palm blog didn’t even post any information about today’s miserable news. Palm’s shares, which have lost more than half their value this year, are looking to remain low for a while. Investors only recommend buying this stock if you’re in it for the long haul.

Palm had the opportunity to really kill the market when they had the chance, but for whatever reason they chose to remain stagnant. While the Treo has remained successful with business folks, it has minimal appeal to the consumer, which invariably limits their potential market.

Here are three factors that I think put Palm in its situation today:

1. Inability to recognize the mobile shift

I once had the opportunity to sit down with the CEO of Palm, Ed Colligan, in the summer of 2006. In our conversation I explained to him that cell phones were no longer going to be about making calls, writing emails and texts, and adjusting office documents on the fly. The evolution of consumer generated media, location identification (GPS), real time reporting, video, and information sharing are going to push the definition of what a “cell phone” really is. Furthermore, I painted a picture of their target audiences and how they have evolved and will evolve in the next few years. The conversation was enjoyable, Ed was a great, down-to-earth guy, but I don’t think he quite bought my argument. His loss.

2. Terrible advertising

Need I say more than showing you these ads? They suck! Nothing intriguing. Nothing unexpected. It doesn’t play on my emotions. Lame lame lame! Thanks Young and Rubicam.

3. Slow moving

Not only was Palm late to release their latest Treo in time to combat the iPhone, but the Treo device itself has not evolved. The form factor is not sexy, unique, or alluring.
Treo 300 (pretty damn old)
Treo Centro (newest)

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