Yankowski Joins GeoPhoenix

By Carmen Nobel  |  Posted 2002-02-12

Carl Yankowski, who lost his job as Palm Inc. CEO last November, has a new gig.

Yankowski is now executive chairman of GeoPhoenix, a Cambridge, Mass., startup that specializes in user interface technologies for handheld and other devices. The company was founded by two MIT graduates.

The companys premiere product, the ZEK, translates datasets into interfaces that work consistently on various devices. Targeted toward hardware manufacturers, content providers and enterprise application developers, it is due out within the next six months.

"We are providing a broad-bandwidth experience over a low-bandwidth connection," said Adriana Guzman, CEO of Geophoenix.

According to the companys Web site, "GeoPhoenix provides the only method for handheld users to swiftly access large datasets with an intuitive visual metaphor."

Yankowski resigned from Palm in November, following a year of decisions that prompted one of his colleagues to remark, "Its the worst case of mismanagement Ive ever seen."

Yankowski was criticized along with other Palm executives for never building a clear strategy to woo enterprise customers. Customers complained of several projects that never saw the light of day, including a corporate portal for the Palm.

More directly, Yankowski was blamed for announcing new products too soon.

In an effort to compete against Handspring Inc.s Visor Edge, Palm pre-announced the m500 and m505 handhelds, which dried up sales of existing products.

Still, company officials expect Yankowski to be a positive force at GeoPhoenix.

"We hired him because he has a lot of experience in the PDA technology," said Guzman. "We all learn from experience, good or bad. And he did take Palm through one of the most successful IPOs in history.

"He has a huge rolodex," she added. "He can call any CEO in the world."

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