The Downfall of WebOS

5 June 2012

The Verge:

Palm was in stasis: the hardware team was gutted and the software team was left idled. Nobody knew what they should be working on, what strategic direction they were taking, or whether they’d be sold. “We’d hold staff meetings, just because we felt like we had to, and no one would show up,” one former employee says.

Incredible talent ruined by corporate hierarchies. Although it is easy to blame HP outright, it must be remembered that Palm itself is responsible for its initial downfall. From Ziegler’s report, he describes Palm getting duped by Verizon, which clearly put the company to a point of no return. The infamous TV ads are another sign of Palm’s general incompetence.

In retrospect, Verizon may have been leveraging the Palm deal to strike a more lucrative one with Google and Motorola for the device that would go on to spearhead its most important brand.

Verizon ended up refusing shipment on a majority of the devices that Palm had manufactured for it, a devastating blow to the company’s bottom line — in fact, multiple sources have described it to us as the final nail in Palm’s coffin. The misstep cost Palm hundreds of millions of dollars and the executive team quickly realized in early 2010 that there was no way forward without an acquisition.

HP destroyed WebOS’s chances of return, but Palm destroyed WebOS originally.