Jon Rubinstein: Validated, but Palm sale to HP was "a waste" | webOS Nation

Jon Rubinstein: Validated, but Palm sale to HP was "a waste" 40

by Derek Kessler Tue, 11 Jun 2013 9:14 pm EDT

Jon Rubinstein: Validated, but Palm sale to HP was

Given the chance to do things over again, former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein would not have sold the company to HP. When asked by FierceWireless about whether he would have done anything differently, Rubinstein said that he wouldn't "have sold the company to HP. That's for sure. Talk about a waste."
Quite. We're still rather bitter about the abrupt cancellation of webOS, so it's no surprise that the man who dedicated years of his career and his reputation to webOS would also be unhappy with how things turned out. But as we've seen time and time again, Palm was often a victim of circumstance and political carrier games.

The first step down the road to perdition for Palm was their launch partner: third place US carrier Sprint. Said Rubinstein: "We almost had deals with Verizon and with Vodafone, and in the last minute both of those guys decided not to go through with the deal, so we had a deal with Sprint," saying that it was "the best deal we could get at the time."

But all of that is in the past. What's Rubinstein up to these days? As we've previously reported, he's joined the boards of both Amazon and Qualcomm, which Rubinstein says are "uniquely positioned for the future of where things are going." He also spends some of his time helping out some 'small companies'. And, of course, taking time off and relaxing at his Mexican villa from where Ed Colligan lured him away years ago.
And as we've all noticed, a lot of what we love about and was pioneered by webOS has found its way into its former competitors, including yesterday's reveal of iOS 7. Rubinstein listed a number of features, including notifications on Mac OS X, multitasking cards (on, well… everything), Synergy contacts and messaging melding, over-the-air updates, and so much more.

Alas, if wishes were horses we at webOS Nation have a cavalry that would make General Washington proud. At the very least we can feel validated that our mobile operating system of choice was in fact years ahead of the curve, perhaps too far ahead.

Source: FierceWireless; Via: Phone Arena



blah, ruby did the right thing at the time, he couldn't know the board was gonna push Hurd out... Sad

He's just bitter because HP skewed up his "baby". Mark Hurd would probably have done a good job but the board was too blinded by his mistake. WebOS will always have a place in my heart though.

HP was so overly worried about bad PR with what Hurd got caught doing (not keeping it in his pants) and replaced him with someone who caused more damage than they could ever have imagined. Professors should be using this debacle in classes. I'll be happy if more companies adopt more of the features that make webOS great.

Thanks for the Post Derek

I am very Proud about WebOS

Is the Best of the Best.

Long Live WebOS!!!

HP Sucks...

If things go as scheduled, this Fall, webOS users will be getting access to Android 2.3 functionality just as iPhone users get access to webOS card metaphor functionality.

for real how is this possible ?????

I wonder how many years it will take for something as good as WebOS to prevail in the market, but I'm afraid it'll be never. The user experience I loved in Palm OS was never found in any other later mobile OS, not even in WebOS.

Jason, I totally agree with you.... but there are no phones out there using WebOS anymore ... until this fall Apple will be using the WebOS again.

Thanks Derek :)

But something that i find a bit vague...

"""Palm was often a victim of circumstance and political carrier games"""

By that you mean wireless carrier (Verizon, Sprint) or perhaps career-related office politics?

Well, in any case, both played a role in Palm's demise :(

Or perhaps you could read the Wikipedia article about Palm and how many times Palm got bought out and started up again as a seperate company.

@Remy - there are articles discussing the battle Palm had with carriers in the beginning. But if you haven't read it yet, just read through the Post-Mortem article to see the full history of what took place

It would of been interesting if they asked him who were the other companies that were interested in buying Palm. (assuming he could now say)

I'm betting Sony and Microsoft were in the mix but they were probably low balling it since they both would have needed to do substantial work to get it to a state were they wanted it to be to fin in their existing ecosystems.

I'm thinking the only companies with serious offers were hardware companies with little experience in making their own (high quality) OS but that wanted something to differentiate from Android in case the shit hit the fan.

I also heard that HP was interested at one time but nothing really came of it in the end.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, looked into by allthingsd, 24 companies looked into buying Palm in February 2010.

The serious companies was a mix between companies that wanted Palm for the patents and companies that wanted to use Palms expertise to give fresh blood to their mobile devisions, like HP. A likely alternative to HP was Lenovo, who only a year before bought back their mobile unit and needed a way into the US mobile market.

We can only speculate what would have happened if Lenovo won the bid, apart from the fact that the Lenovo Pre 3 would be likely to have a IPS screen and up to date hardware when it was released.

Wasn't it also rumored that Amazon was interested?

Yep... Amazon was looking

Nokia was looking at the company too at one point.

That could have possibly been amazing.

Can you imagine a well made webOS phone with a camera like you would find on the Lumia 920?

Of course even if Nokia bought Palm, they still had two big hurdles to get over.

1. Can they get webOS into a state where it doesn't perform like crap compared to WP7/8, iOS, or Android? (Let's be honest in that webOS was a lot slower and less responsive than the other mobile OSes).
2. Can they get enough third parties to jump on board?

It would have been awesome if Nokia had bought Palm.
Nokia's solid hardware plus WebOS's fluent user experience would have been a dream come true.
I even wished that Nokia would use Palm OS on their low-end/feature phones, wouldn't that have been awesome?

I agree... if Nokia bought WebOS it wouldn't have died and I would have bought my first Nokia phone.

Nokia had the great hardware and the network to sell the phones. Whereas Palm had a great solution and hardware but no avenue to sell the phones outside the US... I was waiting for the phone for 2 years to come to Asia and it never did. Then I had to settle for a Blackberry and now after a few years it is just as good, if not better than the Palm.

I know the best always prevails and webos is the best thats been proven since every one else has been slowly copying from it I hope acl hurries fast so we can use adroids apps fast cause that is the only chance of prevailing webos has right at this moment if not I hope all other operatiing systems become a lot more like webos sooner so that I can finally buy a new phone!!!!!!!!!!

Corporate reboots can be a funny thing. Nokia had the financials to dump Symbian and migrate to Windows Phone. RIM didn't have the financials (on paper) but I'm sure there are lucrative government contracts in place to serve as a parachute. But Palm? They didn't have a pot to piss in when they hedged their bets on webOS. Sure, the OS is/was ahead of its time, but the hardware was the Achilles heel that finally drove them to spread 'em for the likes of HP. Whatever you think about the aforementioned WP7/8 or BB OS10, there's not much you can hang on the hardware they reside in. Imagine webOS on a Lumia 920 or a Z10. Yeah, Android who?

So true. Palm was a company of technical innovation and engineering talent, but never had the marketing and capital raising prowess to fully execute their innovation. They were the first in the pda market and succeeded initially because they built an awesome new mousetrap. It was adopted by the masses, and became a brand eponym. A handheld PDA was colloquially referred to as a "Palm", or "Palm Pilot" for many years after.

But they never had the large corporate business acumen to build a corporation that could raise the capital and spend on the marketing to compete as other, larger corporations began to compete, and they ended up struggling to maintain their place in the sandbox. Their founder left and started Handspring, who out-did palm, and then merged back into Palm. Eventually spun off their OS to Access,
Took the hail Mary to develop a new OS under Ruby as a last ditch effort to reinvent themselves, which was techically brilliant, albeit, as we know now, almost a bluff until they barely got it to market. It was a success, but so many compromises were made to get there because they didn't have the hardware and supply resources that others had, and still never were able to build a corporation with the resources to compete, even if they had the innovation, and amazing engineering and design talent, and an even better mousetrap than anyone in the market.

The HP deal should have been the perfect marriage on paper, to put the best product in the hands of a corporation that had the marketing and capital resources to solve the business issues that had held back Palm for so many years. However, as we know now, the timing of it, and the fall from grace that HP drove themselves into as this came to fruition, ended up being the antithesis of everything it was intended to be, and should have been, and even Ruby probably couldn't have foreseen the absurd chain of events that ultimately destroyed all hope for Palm under HP.

So sad to have witnessed such a remarkably suicidal series of decisions that drove a brilliant company, a brilliant product and legacy into the grave, at a time when such a company and their product had a real competitive and innovative product in a market that was an amazing growth opportunity as the mobile world was expanding exponentially and truly changing the paradyme of technology in the consumer market.

Palm had a dominant share of the smartphone market at its inception. However, they let the OS stagnate, especially, after the iPhone was introduced. The was certainly some hubris at play with the idea that computer companies weren't just going to walk into the smartphone market that Palm established. webOS software and hardware was rushed and incomplete. By the time they got things going, all they had was Sprint to work with. It was doomed from the start.

Those dumb fellas could have looked overseas.... US is not the only market in the world you know... We were waiting and waiting for so many years for the phone...

Thank god that Mr Hienz is smarter than that and also looking at other markets otherwise Blackberry is long buried.

Suitors for Palm were mainly interested in acquiring its patents... It seems to me that this was, and has always been, HP's agenda... Although wanting to believe differently, I must now conclude that Meg was introduced mainly for PR damage control...

I think HP meant to support the Palm acquisition and spent more than a billion after purchase but screwed it up royally with complete failure of leadership and identity crisis. (Was HP still a hardware company or should it be services only like IBM) HP lost confidence they could succeed and pulled the plug after it was in complete disarray and made other dumb even more expensive acquisitions like autonomy.

Used ios7 cards multitasking, not quite as fluid as webos, but the best alternative so far.

Yeah webOS is still my favorite. It was just so darn fun to use with it's gestures for navigation and the "Live in the background Active Cards" for multitasking something none of the competitors have even come close to yet. And by live I mean you could see applications running while in card view not just a glance of your last activity. Plus it had many things the big two are just starting to roll out in full effect something I just got with android when my nexus updated to 4.2 Jelly Bean quick settings and somewhat quicker settings with 4.2.?(can't remember right now) in the top right of my screen of my little Pre-. Plus I liked the standard placement of the menu for copy, paste and other things if the developer took advantage of it's functionality in the top left of the screen. But like so many in the past have said it needed high end hardware marketing to compete with iPhone and the plethora of Android phones coming out. I would of liked the addition of a virtual keyboard for when your to lazy to slide phone open. Not that preware didn't have a good alternative you could install but it was to buggy for a daily driver. And again hardware hardware hardware lol, tiny plastic screen, no focus on camera (with the original Pre- at least) Also they broke promises or at least the only one I still remember a promise to get Adobe Flash, not that anyone does I know of coming out now anymore with html5 and mobile browsing blowing up like hot cakes but it was the principle of the thing when you promised it for how many months and then just nope sorry. And still I miss webOS sometimes. It's hard when you tell people card view and so on for phones originated with webOS from Palm or wait HP and there like.... Huh.... Of well I am happy with Android right now but I had dreams of webOS on all my devices. Like a TV where each card you have open is a channel or connected piece of hardware playing... Sigh

On the other hand and I hate to do it but Android if freaking awesome and it's gotten so much better since 2.2 Froyo and it even has what it takes to be that OS that I can use on all my devices from my Phone, TV, PC(hint Google or anybody)I was even kinda hoping one of the new PS4 systems would run Android but I wasn't holding my breath, the Android OS has so much potential. But... But if I could have my way webOS would have been the dominate OS but just like DVDs and Laser Disc, Blue Ray and HD DVD sometimes there can be only one (get the reference to Highlander) or as mobile touch interfaces go like 3 Rim, Apple and Android. Kinda surprises me how little people know about the relationship between Google and Android but I digress.

Sorry for the bad grammar and for ranting about the enemy there a bit but my grammar is terrible and if Android didn't start copying webOS with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich it probably wouldn't be as great ;-). All in all though webOS set the standard by which I've judged every phone since or computer with touch capabilities by that matter as far as easy to use and fun user interfaces go. That even your average Joe can tweak, mod and make there own with the use of two simple codes. Not boot loader madness like Android (exception of my Nexus which is straight forward) and iPhone jail breaking I'm pretty much clueless since I've never cared to look but I just never was wowed by iOS. Anyway I'm sorry again for ranting but I hadn't posted in soooo long and this seemed like a worthy article for me to rant about webOS and my eventual transition. 1 more thing though after webOS last version I owned I noticed the tablet didn't have the tiny card view after the initial card view. I liked it more than stacks which I never really found appealing. And one last sorry fit any one out there who is a grammar freak who fells the need to call people out just to make them feel better about there own intelligence in that one tiny little area. Just because they remember, know or care doesn't mean I do our want to now I'm just trying to get a few points across. So beware that I'm aware of the many run on sentences and poorly grouped paragraphs with one topic leading to the next leading to something completely off topic :-)

HP actually delivered on the promise of Adobe Flash 10.1 support on the HP Pre3. It does require a good connection, as it's terrible at buffering, but I have enjoyed watching flash video like the full episodes of Comedy Centrals Daily Show on my Pre 3 when it works.

Sorry me again one thing I forgot to mention if a company like Samsung or Nokia brought webOS back into the mix in full force I would definitely try to switch back. As long as they offer a device without a physical keyboard and swipe typing. Let's face it back in the glory days of webOS I was always showing off to iOS and Android users :-) Oh and since I was completely off topic with the article looking back and reading it now I agree I'll say I agree that selling to HP completely ruined any chance of success almost as if it was their goal right from the get go. Let's buy this super cool operating system and run it into the ground and see how much money we can waist doing it... Lol not really... I hope :-) They needed to find a company looking to make a name for itself not one that's like hey look we have this too, buy it or not we don't care that much because if it doesn't pan out there is always are Microsoft and Android products to fall back on.

Yeah... that's what happened

I'm no great lover of Sprint but trying to blame them when they were the only ones willing to sell it is grade A chicken stuffin! The real problem, well one of them was the Pre was too small. They should have seen where the market was headed and realized the device just wasn't going to cut it. Still, I've enjoyed my Pre & Touchpad but they are due for retirement at some point this year. Good bye WebOS hello Winphone 8! :D

I bet Thorsten Heins over at Blackberry wonders sometimes if WebOS would have been a better deal than the flop that BB10 is.

HP failed due to poor marketing
WebOs is a clearly superior OS for cellphones
HP concentrated on the TP
Russell Brand was a poor choice for spokesman
Given to sorry state of present mobile OS I keep hoping WebOs will live on
it is just too good to wither

Are there any WebOS phones available in the market at the moment ?

No. :(. Gotta get them on ebay.

I would agree with him, but this one of the turning points that brought HP down from the number one PC manufacture. If you look at them now, they are making value devices now. Just look at there Android tablets, and would agree they aren't the company they use to be. I believe Palm should have sold to Microsoft, Nokia, Apple, and Blackberry. Nokia and Blackberry would have been more merger than purchase. Apple has already cannibalized WebOS, but would have did want they did with ITunes purchased and renamed. Microsoft wouldn't have to build Windows Phone and could have worked with a existing OS and their access to carriers Windows Phone 8 is on all of the carriers. Nokia would worked with Microsoft on the Lumias. The Lumias would have been out sooner and maybe a generation or two ahead of Windows Phone 8. Blackberry would spent so much money and time developing OS 10. Any these opinions may not or may have been better than HP. I believe HP thought they could be the next Apple by owning their own OS, not relying on Microsoft or Google. In my opinion a software developer, or phone manufacture would have been better than a PC manufacturer, such as HP or even Dell.

Totally agreed, I feel the same.

I wish LG would sell Webs to Amazon man ..