24/7 Wall St. names Palm one of the ten biggest tech failures of the decade | webOS Nation

24/7 Wall St. names Palm one of the ten biggest tech failures of the decade

by Derek Kessler Fri, 15 May 2009 4:26 pm EDT

The year was September 2005. Palm was riding high, having sold close to 500,000 Treo smartphones the preceding quarter. The dominated the fledgling consumer smartphone market, and were putting up stiff competition against Research in Motion’s BlackBerry line. Fast forward two years to September 2007: Palm’s sales were up to 689,000 units for the quarter, but RIM had moved 3.2 million BlackBerries worldwide and Apple had just introduced their iPhone to the tune of one million sold on AT&T alone. A year later, they’d move that many of the next generation in three days.

Up until recently, things had been looking pretty bad for Palm. Delays, aging software, and shrinking marketshare made it look like Palm was about to sink into oblivion. Back in 2000, Palm stock traded at an ungodly $669/share (adjusting for splits and dividends), today it’s at just over $11 (up from a low of a pitiful $1.14 last December). While the past nine years have had Palm stock suffering a decline of 98%, Apple is up 282% while RIM is up 188%.

The relative stock prices of Palm (blue), Apple (red) and Research in
Motion (orange), courtesy of Google Finance.

Stock analysis website 24/7 Wall St. has seen fit to include Palm’s perceived failure to fully translate from PDA to smartphone and subsequent enormous stock devaluation as one of its top ten biggest tech failures of the past decade. Palm has joined the ranks of operating system Windows Vista (though Microsoft is still going strong), decimated PC builder Gateway, defunct disc format HD DVD, crumbling VOIP provider Vonage, Google-owned money pit YouTube, satellite radio provider Sirius XM, Microsoft’s Zune MP3 player, $5 billion satellite phone failure Iridium, and odd-ball people-mover Segway.

Is there hope for Palm? While they’ll have trouble ever hoping to topple RIM and Apple, and Palm’s executives have made it clear that’s not their goal, the memories of Palm’s market dominance collapse are still fresh in the minds of many. Maybe, just maybe, the Pre (and webOS by extension) will be that breath of life that Palm needs. Though we’re never going to see $669 a share for Palm stock ever again.