Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Rob Enderle: Palm Turns 10

Rob Enderle posts at Technology Pundits about Palm turning ten years old. He seems to have a certain fondness for the company referring to the company "as one of Apple’s children, started mostly by ex-Newton folks the Palm Pilot became what the Newton would have become had Apple stuck with the offering."

Enderle notes that Palm was as "hot as the iPod is in its day it set the bar for a device that did the basics well enough to capture the interest of investors who shot the value of the company well above most multi-nationals when it initially went public. However, under 3Com it began to languish and spun out as two companies, one for software and one for hardware, and showed us what probably would have happened had Apple followed the same path."

Enderle goes into some history of the two companies, Palm Source and Palm One, and then looks at the survivor Palm One, which has reverted to just Palm. He compares current Palm to Apple and states "the hardware for both Palm and Apple appears to be the more compelling. (Reasons come down to support, interoperability, and compatibility all of which appear to trump user interface and security – security is starting to look like a wash now anyway)."

Enderle points out that now "Palm faces some interesting times ahead as they morph into a stronger Microsoft partner and learn how to extend that platform. Their primary competitors are increasingly HP, Dell, RIM, Danger, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung and, like many of these companies, their primary partners are becoming Intel and Microsoft."

Enderle concludes with:

Today is Palm’s tenth anniversary and it finds them in transition to the next big thing. That could well be Origami, a Microsoft/Intel/VIA project. Origami is probable the next big evolution for the Newton and I can think of no other company more qualified to make it a hit. The question is, will Palm go down this path or find another unique to them.