Palm Must Follow an Independent Path

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-02-28 Print this article Print


5. Look toward the enterprise

One place where Palm wouldn't need to worry so much about Apple is in the enterprise. In that space, it's still RIM's BlackBerry that reigns supreme. When the corporate world compares the BlackBerry to a Palm device, they will likely find that the difference is negligible in terms of hardware design. What Palm needs to do is to build more enterprise features into its platform. If Palm can deliver more such options, it might have a chance at gaining some market share in the corporate space.

6. Remember the situation

As Palm looks ahead at what its strategy should be, the company needs to be fully aware of the peril of its situation. Prior to the release of the Pre, some folks wondered how much longer the company really had left. It was losing ground at a rapid rate and it had no phones to compete in the touch-screen market. It does now. But those phones just aren't cutting it. Palm needs to stay focused on what it can do to turn things around and do whatever it can to achieve its goals. The company is out of options.

7. Stay true to Palm

At the same time, Palm needs to be Palm. Part of the allure of Palm products in the past was that they offered a unique take on mobile computing. They didn't simply follow the competition's lead for the sake of making a few extra bucks. Palm was a unique company and it made its name off of that. It can still be unique and deliver a compelling product, but it needs to be more aware of what consumers and the enterprise really want.

8. Consider licensing WebOS

Licensing WebOS would only work if Palm fixed its platform first, but there is an opportunity for the company to license its software to other phone vendors and perhaps some electronics makers. It might be difficult for Palm to license WebOS, since both Microsoft and Google have cornered that market, but if the company feels that it can't compete with its own hardware and it can drastically improve its WebOS, it needs to give it a shot. It's a last option for sure, but it might be a good one if things go sour.

9. Better marketing, please

Palm's advertising strategy has been abysmal. It has failed to capture what the Pre and Pixi are all about, and it hasn't done anything to drum up excitement for its products. That's one way Apple bests the entire market. An iPhone ad is simple but effective at informing the public on why it needs an iPhone. If Palm really wants its own products to be successful, it needs to deliver a similar advertising experience. Motorola was able to pull it off with the Droid. Palm needs to do it with the Pre and Pixi.

10. Forget about the iPhone

Palm needs to totally forget that there is an iPhone competing against its Pre. When the company first announced the Pre, it made it all too clear that it was gunning for Apple. In the mobile business so far, that's a death knell. Palm needs to distance its device from the iPhone and attempt to sell the consumers and organizations that want nothing to do with Apple's device. The iPhone gets all the attention in the smartphone space, but there really is a profitable market out there for companies that don't attempt to be an iPhone competitor. Palm should consider it.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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