Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on October 24, 2007
Since writing a column about the new Centro and the future of Palm, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the struggling handset maker must do to ensure its future. The enormous challenge facing Palm is grafting its deservedly popular user interface onto a modern operating system core that will replace Palm’s old and creaky code. That PalmSource, Access, and now Palm itself have been struggling, without notable success, to do this for nearly five years is not encouraging.
Maybe the best hope for Palm would be if incoming executive chairman Jon Rubenstein, Apple’s former hardware guru, could somehow lure Avie Tevanian out of retirement to spearhead the effort. The challenge facing Palm has some similarities to situation at Apple when Tevanian took charge of its OS project in 1997. Apple, too, was struggling with the mess left by failed efforts to modernize Mac OS, and OS X was the brilliant result. (Interestingly, David Nagel managed the abortive efforts at both Apple and PalmSoft.)
Tevanian, who was never one for publicity, has kept an extremely low profile since leaving Apple in 2006.