Why Palm Lost the Lead

I read an article today about Palm on Slashdot. Here is the summary:

Palm’s fourth quarter results came out a few days ago, and they were not pretty: Palm reported losses of 40 cents per share, for a quarterly loss of $43.4 million. It’s the fourth straight quarter of losses, and it’s clear that the company is not faring well in the rapidly evolving smartphone market. The Treo line is lagging after seven years, and while the Centro has done well, it’s not well enough to compete with the likes of the iPhone 3G and RIM’s surging BlackBerry line. New competition is on the horizon, with developers and manufacturers working on the Google Android platform and the recent news that Symbian is being open-sourced. What happened to Palm? What can the company do to effectively compete in the mobile market, and turn its fortunes around?

I think that Palm stopped being innovative. If you looked at the original Palms and Treos, and look at their current counter-parts, there hasn’t been much change. New specs and a few tweaks here and there, but no new ground breaking innovation. They allowed for other companies to become the innovators and took the lead from them, forcing them to place catchup. Many of use who used PDAs when they first came out all probably owned a Palm device. However now, unless Palm shatters a paradigm and changes the market, I think we’ve seen the last of Palm.

Lesson to be learned: Don’t give your competition the opportunity to out innovate you unless you want to lose the lead. Always keep thinking of how to improve, regardless of competition.

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