10 Things Palm's Buyers Must Do to Save the Company

News Analysis: Palm is in trouble. The company recently posted a poor earnings report and rumors are swirling that it plans to sell itself off to the highest bidder. If that happens, there are some things that the new owner will need to do to see a positive return on their investment. Here is what needs to be done quickly.

After attempting to thrive in the mobile market against the iPhone juggernaut, reports now claim that Palm has enlisted the help of major investment banks to help it find a company that's willing to acquire it.

So far, Palm hasn't confirmed that it's on the market, but based on the company's performance over the past few years, it's certainly believable. The embattled firm's Pre has proven to be a failure and so far, it has been unable to find a way to crack the mobile market. Things just aren't looking up for Palm.

It's a sad story. Years ago, Palm's Treo was on top of the mobile market and Palm OS was widely regarded as a viable alternative to Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform. But as the years wore on, Palm didn't see that the market was changing and companies such as Apple and Google revolutionized the space. It was only after the iPhone enjoyed such success that Palm attempted to stage a comeback. But as recent sales figures have shown, it has failed.
So, we arrive at a sale. Just how much Palm is worth and whether or not a competitor will acquire it is unknown. But that won't stop us from giving Palm's future owners a cheatsheet to help them see a positive return on their investment.
1. Dump WebOS (for now)
WebOS might have sounded like a great idea at first, but it has proven to be disastrous. Developers have found WebOS difficult to work with and since other mobile operating systems are more popular, it lacks support from ISVs. It's a real problem for Palm. Although the company's WebOS does have some value, any firm that acquires it will need to dump the operating system. It's not that the software is awful; it just doesn't fit in today's marketplace.
2. Say good-bye to Sprint
One of the first things an acquiring company should do with Palm is eliminate its partnership with Sprint. Palm's relationship with Sprint ensured from the beginning that the Pre wouldn't make it against the iPhone. Any company that acquires Palm needs to make the company fully carrier-agnostic. Unless a company has an apple for a logo, playing nice with just one or two carriers is a major mistake in the mobile market.
3. Keep the Pre's design
The Palm Pre might get a bad wrap sometimes, but it's a good design. The device is easy to hold, fits perfectly in a pocket and delivers a viable design alternative to the iPhone. Now, that doesn't mean that the acquiring company should stick with the Pre and hope for the best, but it does mean that any future iterations of Palm devices should take their inspiration from the Pre.
4. Go Android
After ditching WebOS, the next thing to do is to strike up a partnership with Google. What better way for it to re-emerge in the marketplace than to offer an operating system that's based on open-source technology? Plus, Android is becoming increasingly popular in the marketplace as more consumers view it as a nice alternative to the iPhone. If Palm survives an acquisition, it will be due to its partnership with Google.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...