Jon Rubinstein Appointed CEO of Palm | webOS Nation

Jon Rubinstein Appointed CEO of Palm 15

by Dieter Bohn Thu, 11 Jun 2009 8:41 am EDT

Cementing a management structure that many have assumed that has been in place informally for quite awhile, Jon Rubinstein has replaced Ed Colligan as CEO of Palm. 

From the Press Release:

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Jun 10, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM) today announced that its board of directors has appointed Jon Rubinstein to lead the company as Chairman and CEO upon the departure of Ed Colligan, who is stepping down after sixteen years of leadership at the company. Rubinstein, who joined Palm as Executive Chairman in October 2007 to help bring innovation back to the company, assumes his role as CEO on June 12. Colligan plans to take some time off, then join Elevation Partners.

"I am very excited about taking on this expanded role at Palm," said Rubinstein. "Ed and I have worked very hard together the past two years, and I'm grateful to him for everything he's done to help set the company up for success. With Palm webOS we have ten-plus years of innovation ahead of us, and the Palm Pre is already one of the year's hottest new products. Due in no small part to Ed's courageous leadership, we're in great shape to get Palm back to continuous growth, and we plan to keep the trajectory going upward."

"I'm very proud of what Palm has accomplished so far," said Colligan. "We pioneered two major product categories and I believe we are on our way to defining the standard for the mobile web. I'm extremely proud of our team, and grateful to have played a role in turning Palm around. I know that Jon, the Board and the Palm executive team will do an incredible job driving Palm to new heights."

As you can see above, it's unclear whether or not Colligan will continue on with Palm in a direct capacity on the Board of Directors or not, though he clearly will continue to have input in his new future role at Palm investor Elevation Partners.

We offer our sincere thanks to Colligan for steering Palm through its incredibly stormy (and deadly calm) waters these past few year.  We're also quite excited for the future with Rubinstein, the Pre-Father.



Awesome! Palm has their own Steve Jobs now. I'm glad someone with real vision is running the show now.

Let's hope that Jon doesn't bring the worst traits of Apple with him. The "leak" of the ROM last night is a good start for the new Palm.

I'm concerned he is behind the 8GB and no SD card decision.

Great move. I see a bright future for Palm.

It's about goddamn time Colligan was out - he has been the biggest problem with Palm. Hopefully we will see a better Palm going forward.

Congrats to PALM and all their hard work. I know Jon will do a fine job. He has displayed what he can do with the company releasing the PRE who knows what's to come and that's the exciting part! Looking forward to the future and enjoying the PRE now!!!

who is the architect of webos (the middle framework)?

* Board of Directors or no[t] - ?

* waters these past few year[s]- ?

While I think he's certainly a hugely positive force for Palm, I'm unsure that they will still be able to compete effectively with the likes of Apple and RIM. While things could change, I have not been impressed with Palm/Sprint's marketing campaign for the Pre. Rubinstein says he learned a lot about marketing while under Steve Jobs but that isn't evident from the Pre's launch. In my opinion, Palm has failed to capture the mindshare of the everyday consumer by inadequately marketing the device. The only people that I know who are aware of it are techies like myself. The average consumer who does not follow tech sites is much more likely to know there is a new iPhone, and that isn't even out yet!

Where are the ads for the Pre? I've seen a couple, but nothing like the marketing campaigns Apple is famous for putting out.

Also, I would hope that Rubinstein would have learned the value of great hardware. From everything I've read, the Pre's software is great but the hardware is pretty meh and even faulty in some cases, as seen by the slider issues. It's too early to say for sure though at this point, so we'll have to see in a year or two how Palm is doing I suppose...

@jonk -- I don't think you'll see a marketing blitz until they're sure that they have the cash to really do it. Apple has $30b in the bank. Palm is quarter-to-quarter after their time in the desert.

@mikec Ed Colligan has been trying to fix mistakes of previous CEOs for 15 years and you wouldn't have the Pre without him.

Mike Overbo

Ed Colligan wasn't bad for Palm. Carl Yankowski was bad for Palm. Ed Colligan actually kept Palm alive for a lot longer then anyone had expected.

@Overthrow - that crack pipe must taste real good. Colligan has been around since the Handspring days, and couldn't even make that work. He constantly made bad decision after bad decision, and squandered Palm's lead in a market it had a lock on.

Lack of OS development, multiple branding changes, the failed Cobalt, the "Dungstens", devices that were lackluster in features/slow to develop (missed the mobile revolution, digital media, etc. They were painfully late to the game with a phone that had wi-fi built-in), Foleo, and on and on and on...

The Pre exist for one reason - Elevation Partners and Jon Rubenstein. They also made a deal once the Pre was launched that Ed would move to Elevation (as a "consultant") and Jon would take over. This was done as a nice way to get him out of the company and have him go quietly. He's getting paid in full for running the company into the ground.

But then, his degree is in poli sci, so maybe it shouldn't surprise me he couldn't run a company very well. I met him several times in person, and was woefully unimpressed with his understanding of the market and his customers.

Rubenstein essentially saved Apple from becoming irrelevant (he basically drove the G3, G4, G5, iMac and iPod.) He was also instrumental at NeXT, which we all know was a precursor for the return of Jobs to Apple. He is "the man behind the curtain", so to speak.

As for Colligan, back luck and good riddance. He'll be on the golf course now, until he can find another sucker company to ruin.

Have to disagree with the comments about Colligan. If you look at his overall track record, he has played an absolutely awful hand better than anyone could have imagined. However, to truly appreciate what he has done, you have to remember the long and twisted history of Palm:

1992 - Hawkins, Dubinsky and Colligan form Palm
1995 - Palm acquired by US Robotics (ultimately taken over by
1998 - Hawkins, Dubinsky and Colligan leave to form Handspring
2000 - Palm spun off from 3Com
2002 - Palm split into Palm (hardware) and PalmSource (Palm
2003 - Palm and Handspring Merge
2005 - Access bought PalmSource

This is abbreviated; however, I think you can see the horrible decisions which have largely handcuffed Palm were made in the time Hawkins, Dubinsky and Colligan were not there. Specifically, I think the decision to split the hardware and software units proved disastrous. However, Colligan guided an ailing ship through treacherous waters, expanded its market and has brought in the talent and resources which have given Palm a shot to be a market leader again. He deserves our admiration and respect, and has earned his spot in the tech hall of fame.



They were there since 2003; there have been a ton of mistakes since then. To say Colligan was dealt a bad hand is apologetic at best. Tech hall of fame? Are you serious? He's done nothing of value - the Treo line was successful despite him, not because of him. He strongly resisted the move to Windows Mobile. He drove no product development, and the products that were release took forever to reach the market.

Palm has not chance to be a market leader. They will be bought up by someone else, and that will be all she wrote. WebOS and the Pre is their future.

I wonder what the "reply" link does...