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Report: former Apple exec cleaning up Palm

updated 03:50 pm EST, Thu December 13, 2007

Rubenstein at Palm

A key former executive from Apple is already instituting major changes at Palm that may revitalize the Centro maker's fortunes in the long run, the Wall Street Journal. Executive chairman Jon Rubenstein, who was responsible for much early iPod design as well as the iBook, is said to have completely overhauled Palm's development groups to focus on individual devices and has reshuffled the talent pool at the company. Engineers he believes are important to the company have been promoted while executives have been forced out -- including at least one senior VP of engineering, according to the paper. Hirings are also believed to be faster, in part to increase the incentives for potential recruits.

The former Apple chair is now known to have also had last-minute influence on products, canceling the Foleo phone companion and requesting minor changes to the budget Centro smartphone before its release this fall. The device shipped early with the fixes in place and to a positive reaction from the press, the Journal says.

The news suggests a recovery for Palm that comes at a particularly crucial moment for the company, which has continued to fall short of financial expectations and is bleeding marketshare to smartphone makers such as Research in Motion and its BlackBerry series, which often control the corporate space, and largely home-oriented media phones such as Apple's iPhone. The company is developing a Linux-based Palm OS that would add much-needed upgrades to the software for the Centro and Treo but is now not expected until late 2008, which may see the release accompanied by the first full efforts of Rubinstein's design experience.

by MacNN Staff



  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Palm is one of those companies that has been in a steady decline b/c of old can't get out of their own way people at the top using old models that are no longer appropriate for the changing technologies and had also just become complacent. Motorola is another company that needs to clean house or a go culling, if you will. This is a good thing, more forward thinking companies is good for us.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Great idea

    I agree with slider 100%. I still like the classic PalmOS interface though. It's simple and doesn't get in your way unlike PocketPC that tries to hard to be a desktop computer. Maybe the core of the OS needs rewriting, but the UI needs only minor updating.

    Notice how the iPhone is similar to PalmOS - a home screen to access all your stuff, accessible anytime, anywhere.

  1. jcatma61

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Like Detroit

    Slider hit it on the head. I've long marveled that Palm has been so much like, well, Dodge in its approach to changes in the market.

    Guess that's the reason I'll be holding off for a Jetta Sport Wagon TDI instead of waiting any longer for US Diesel.

    Same problem, way different industries.

  1. macuserssmelllikebum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Come on...

    Like Dodge?? These guys have the most exciting lineup of NA-made vehicles going. Just because they don't have a TDI you're going to bash them??

    Truth is, TDI's are for f***. Sorry dude, sometimes a dose of reality can suck.

  1. tmedia1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Go Rubenstein!

    Palm has been in desperate need of house keeping and I'm glad to see it coming from Mr. Rubenstein. I'll be looking for some good things from Palm in 2008! Treo 850!

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