Jon Rubinstein: HP’s Acquisition Of Palm Was “A Waste”

Posted Jun 13, 2013

Jon Rubinstein is known for playing a key role in the development of the Apple iPod, iMac, and Palm’s webOS.  In April 2006, Rubinstein left Apple from the SVP of the iPod division to become the executive chairman of the board at Palm Inc.  He was made CEO of the company in 2009 and replaced Ed Colligan.

Rubinstein was recently interviewed by FierceWireless where he revealed his thoughts on HP’s acquisition of Palm.  ?I?m not sure I would have sold [Palm] to HP. That?s for sure. Talk about a waste,? said Rubinstein.  Rubinstein is currently on the board of directors at and Qualcomm.

Within one year of acquiring Palm, HP launched several webOS-based products, but shut down production on them due to weak demand.  HP made webOS open source for a while, but them decided to sell the operating system and I.P. to LG Electronics.  LG plans to use webOS in some form on smart TVs going forward.

webOS will now just be a talking point in nostalgic conversations.  However, there are a few cues from webOS that have been implemented in Apple’s new iOS 7 like the multitasking feature.

So why did Palm actually sell to HP?  In reality, the company was not doing very well.  They were losing a smartphone battle against Apple and Google.  The company almost had no chance unless they sold.  Palm’s investors were likely getting antsy about getting an ROI too.