Bill Maggs, Palms chief technology officer, unexpectedly resigned last week — less than a year after he joined the company — leaving the handheld computer maker at a critical point in its development life cycle.
In an interview, Maggs declined to discuss specifically what he will do next, but said it will be oriented toward mobility and fit into the Palm ecosystem. "I came [to Palm] thinking I would start my own company," he said. "Basically, it was a good time [to leave]."
Maggs was the chief architect of Palms new technical strategy to establish the Palm OS as the heart of all kinds of mobile devices, running on multiple hardware platforms — a tremendous engineering task. Palm does not have immediate plans to hire a new CTO; Maggs will continue as a consultant at Palm for the next few months.
Maggs insisted hes departing on good terms. But an incident at the companys PalmSource conference last month indicates a possible clash of personalities between Palm Chief Executive Carl Yankowski and the CTO. In front of 3,000 attendees, Maggs was demonstrating a prototype of a Bluetooth-connected Palm. Growing frustrated during the demo, he muttered audibly, "F—- this." According to a Palm insider, Yankowski was highly displeased.
A Palm spokeswoman played down the incident. Maggs acknowledged uttering the obscenity, but he characterized it as trivial and denied that it played any part in his resignation.
Now, however, its probably Palms senior managers who are cussing about losing their top technologist.