HP’s Very Smart Acquisition

Hey thanks HP for acquiring Palm — I almost forgot you were still around.

Ok that was a very snarky statement, but it really is true. The last we heard about HP was when Steve Ballmer announced the now vaporware “slate” at CES. Then we started hearing about Palm being for sale, and well nobody was surprised. Palm’s future was doomed, they had not capitalized against Apple and Google when they could/should have. They waited too long and got pulled into what I call “the lost hiker dilemma” — reacting instead of planning and thinking their way out.

Now they have lost significant market share, they are not innovating, and are presumable bleeding cash. An acquisition was the only way that they stay relevant and I applaud them for making a very smart call — one of the best Palm has made in the past year.

Part of Palm’s struggles with WebOS is they have been sitting there trying to out match the iPhone OS and this is never a good strategy. You can’t be worried about what your competitors may or may not do. You need to focus on your product — on making it the best that it can be. I think a lot of the problems stem from the fact that there are a large contingent of ex-Apple employees at Palm, including the CEO.

Moving Forward

Now that HP and Palm are sitting in a tree, there needs to be some real focus on WebOS, because from what I have heard it is a great OS – just no one knows about it. Money needs to be spent on getting the brand recognition and awareness in place so that it is more than just the nerd crowd loving the phone.

HP needs to get every major carrier it can to sell and support the Palm phones. Making WebOS ubiquitous (in that you can get it on every carrier, your choice) is about the only chance that it has of surviving. Most importantly they need to sell the features that their competitors don’t have — mainly the mobile hotspot capabilities of the Palm Pre Plus.

I would suspect that not too many people know that you can turn a Palm Pre Plus into a mobile hotspot that you can connect up to 5 devices on. This would be a huge marketing advantage considering that AT&T has yet to enable tethering for their iPhone users.

So in short, HP forget about Windows (phone) Mobile, spend money on Palm’s marketing. But most importantly forget about Apple and do your own thing, because you can’t beat Apple at its own game, so beat them at yours.

Originally posted for members on: April 30, 2010
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