In late February of this year, Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein sent an early report to Wall Street giving them advanced warning that revenues for Q3 2010 as well as the fiscal year would be lower than expected. He likened the deficiency to slower than expected consumer adoption of Palm devices. And as things unfolded he put a portion of the blame on Verizon for not backing the Palm Pre Plus or Pixi Plus in the same way they did the Motorola DROID.
It seems like an eternity since all that went down, and in the months following the big (albeit unfortunate) announcement most conversations revolving around Palm have had to do with whether they will completely dissapear or be bought out by another entity. Several companies have been named as potential buyers - HTC, Huawei and Lenovo to name a few (people have also made mention of a possible Google buyout, but not much has come to light on that front). HTC, which has recently come under fire from a major Apple lawsuit, has been thought of as the most probable suitor, if for nothing more than to obtain Palms huge portfolio of patents, presumably assuring a triumph against Apple.
But from the looks of things, Palm may be running out of options. This morning Engadget is reporting that HTC has removed themselves from contention, stating that there "just weren't enough synergies to take the deal forward." This could mean a number of things, but I'm wondering if WebOS and Sense UI just don't get along? Additionally, Palm's patents seemed to be the most poignant reason for an HTC-Palm buyout. Should we consider this a bold/confident move from HTC? These are the types of questions, unfortunately, that will probably receive more speculation than answers.
If you're a die-hard Palm fan don't get worried too quickly, you know John Rubinstein's not going down without a fight. Yesterday, not long before news of HTC backing out of the Palm purchase (coincidence? Unlikely), Rubinstein told the Financial Times that he still believes "Palm can survive as an independent company." But Rubinstein is also being realistic, and isn't completely throwing away the idea of some sort of acquisition, stating that "if someone comes to the board with a reasonable offer of course it's something [they'd] have to consider."
On an exciting note, Rubinstein made mention of a feat many thought impossible due to Palm's financial situation. He said they're actually working on bringing new (yeah, I said new!) handsets to the market at a "fast and furious" pace. He's also reportedly open to the idea of licensing webOS, stating "if there's an appropriate strategic relationship or business deal that makes sense to us then of course we would license webOS because obviously the more scale we get the more the benefit there is to us."
So, it looks like we'll be seeing a new Palm device coming down the pike (whoda thunk?), and hey, we might even see webOS running on Sony Ericsson phones - crazier things have happened. I say bravo to Palm and Rubinstein for giving it their all. My only concern is that with the limited amount of time they have to turn things around, and the "fast and furious" pace in which they need to get solid devices on the market, I really hope they don't run into the same hardware issues that they have been notorious for in the past.
Who's got Palm's back on this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments!