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Looming Palm takeover could hinder Apple

post #1 of 114
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Recent indications that Treo maker Palm Inc. may be acquired by one of its rivals have the potential to reshape the entire cellphone market, and could have their own ramifications for Apple's still unreleased handset.

Wireless industry website Unstrung broke rank with its peers on Monday and claimed to have reliable knowledge of an impending buyout of Palm, known best for the original PalmPilot and its Treo smartphones.

Although the frontrunner wasn't mentioned, site editor Dan Jones characterized the potential acquisition as a frenzied, four-way competition for the device maker. Two private equity groups are involved, Jones said, but the most significant potential buyers are likely to be two of the company's greatest rivals, Motorola and Nokia.

While either company winning the bid could have a major impact, a successful takeover by Motorola could revolutionize the cellphone industry -- and threaten Apple by extension, the source said.

Palm has been both a blessing and a curse to both Microsoft and its Windows Mobile OS, alternately competing with and supporting Microsoft with different versions of the Treo. A Motorola purchase of Palm would make the latter the single largest supplier of Windows Mobile devices and could lock Nokia out of much of the North American smartphone business. This would whittle the number of competitors in the market down to three in 2007 and make Apple an obvious target.

"If they own Palm, all of a sudden Motorola becomes Microsoft's best hope for competing against RIM and Apple," the informant reported.

Such a shift could cause problems for the iPhone if it were to take place, based on earlier analyst reports. Financial institution Morgan Stanley recently singled out Motorola and Palm as respectively irrelevant and vulnerable to the Apple device but had not factored in the possibility of a merger that strengthened the position of either rival.

That investment same bank is said to be brokering the deal on behalf of Palm and may provide an answer to questions as soon as Thursday, when it hopes to finalize the buyout and possibly deliver the news as part of the phone manufacturer's fiscal third-quarter 2007 report.
post #2 of 114
Hinder them because there are only three companies left? Fewer choices mean less competition. Sounds like a good thing for Apple.
post #3 of 114
Apple's got cash. Who knows maybe they are the ones getting ready to buy Palm.

Imagine switching all the Treo users to iPhones over the next few years
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post #4 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukemeiser View Post

Hinder them because there are only three companies left? Fewer choices mean less competition. Sounds like a good thing for Apple.

I guess the point is that several scattered weak opponents are easier to beat then a few focused strong ones.
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post #5 of 114
Huh? This "source" is smoking crack. What on earth does a merger of Motorola and Palm have to do with the iPhone? So what if Motorola (or Nokia) took on Palm. Their devices still suck, and they're no competition for the iPhone. More importantly, Windows Mobile 6 is to OS X what Mac OS 7 is to Vista - hopelessly outdated and outclassed.
I'm sorry, much though I value many of the articles here, this one is pants and none of the conjecture makes any sense at all.
Motorola or Nokia buying Palm impacts Apple about as much as the prospect of Acer buying Gateway.

Simply, it doesn't.
post #6 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommo_UK View Post

Huh? This "source" is smoking crack. What on earth does a merger of Motorola and Palm have to do with the iPhone? So what if Motorola (or Nokia) took on Palm. Their devices still suck, and they're no competition for the iPhone. More importantly, Windows Mobile 6 is to OS X what Mac OS 7 is to Vista - hopelessly outdated and outclassed.
I'm sorry, much though I value many of the articles here, this one is pants and none of the conjecture makes any sense at all.
Motorola or Nokia buying Palm impacts Apple about as much as the prospect of Acer buying Gateway.

Simply, it doesn't.

Huh?????
It has all in the world to do... Can you not see the implications of a stronger enemy? Think.
post #7 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Apple's got cash. Who knows maybe they are the ones getting ready to buy Palm.

Imagine switching all the Treo users to iPhones over the next few years

That would really stir up the market!
Could the DOJ antitrust division put the kabash on such a move? Seeing as Apple doesn't even make a phone yet, I guess they are safe...
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post #8 of 114
I think this merger would make sense. Moto phones are nice hardware but the UI sucks. I don't know much about windows mobile os but it's probably an improvement. No doubt they would work with MS to further improve it. As a previous poster mentioned one big company working with MS would be more formidable for Apple than a bunch of smaller players.
post #9 of 114
Quote:
While either company winning the bid could have a major impact, a successful takeover by Motorola could revolutionize the cellphone industry -- and threaten Apple by extension, the source said.

If a takeover "revolutionizes" the cellphone industry, it's good for everyone. It won't "hinder" anyone. It will drive better competition. I smell the seed of someone trying to keep a takeover attempt from happening after spreading plenty of FUD.
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post #10 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by EruIthildur View Post

Huh?????
It has all in the world to do... Can you not see the implications of a stronger enemy? Think.

I see two weaklings clinging onto eachother hoping to come up with some way between them to battle a looming giant. Palm sucks. Motorola sucks. Nokia? Outdated. Windows Mobile? Sucks. Sorry, the enemy here is Windows Mobile, not Motorola or Nokia or Palm, per se. What's Nokia going to do with Palm that it wouldn't be doing already to fight against the iPhone? What's Motorola going to do with Palm to fight the iPhone? Write a new OS? Nope.

The genius of the iPhone is in the software as much as anything else, and the integration with iTunes, iPhoto, etc. That's something that buying Palm can never give the others. The implications? One company will spend a lot of time trying to integrate Palm into their product portfolio and waste a lot of money trying to get some value out of an outdated product line while trying to design something new to compete with Apple.

Either way, Apple wins by effectively making Palm irrelevant.

Think.
post #11 of 114
isn't symbian globally top dog in phone os, so with palm nokia can make a more powerful attack against mobile 5, it's to counter MS and leapfrog the competition
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post #12 of 114
Business stories like this are welcome enough on AI (I haven't heard it anywhere else I frequent yet) but we should bear in mind their coverage has a culture of its own. The business journalists don't quite believe the iPhone yet, just like they had issues with the iPod before its sales blew their socks off. If Apple were being run by unimaginative non-visionary oiks like, oh, say: MS, RIM, Palm, Moto, Nokia and Sony then this skepticism would make some sense. All we're seeing here is the old world trying to react to the new giant in waiting, and doing it the only way they know how. A&M lawyer parties and pie in the sky!

Apple so aren't going to buy any of these companies by the way. Why buy a dying hulk that has nothing you want? RIM are going to get slaughtered. Their software sucks, and their user base have been crying out for the next big thing for years now. Hello iPhone! Rev.B and C are going to own the smartphone just as much as the iPod == portable standalone digital audio player.
post #13 of 114
How are two shitty companies supposed to become better by merging?
post #14 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

How are two shitty companies supposed to become better by merging?

Pixie dust.
post #15 of 114
I wonder if that source is Cramer.



http://youtube.com/watch?v=708wDFX28lc
post #16 of 114
These analyst reports make no sense. How would Motorola purchasing Palm make them the largest Windows Mobile supplier and become Microsoft's best hope in fighting against RIM and Apple?? So the logic is Moto + Palm = Windows Mobile OS AND no more Palm OS!? I don't understand why this guy thinks Motorola merging with Palm will somehow create a mega Windows Mobile supplier. Why? Because Motorola can effectively kill off Palm OS?

Reading these reports makes me want to quit my job and become an analyst.
post #17 of 114
I don't think Apple cares much one way or the other about this story. The competition is playing musical chairs on the Titanic and Apple's working on iPhone enhancements.
post #18 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Tung View Post

These analyst reports make no sense. How would Motorola purchasing Palm make them the largest Windows Mobile supplier and become Microsoft's best hope in fighting against RIM and Apple?? So the logic is Moto + Palm = Windows Mobile OS AND no more Palm OS!? I don't understand why this guy thinks Motorola merging with Palm will somehow create a mega Windows Mobile supplier. Why? Because Motorola can effectively kill off Palm OS?

Reading these reports makes me want to quit my job and become an analyst.

Palm is already manufacturing WM5-based Treos. Nowadays, it seems that their product roll-out strategy is to release a new flagship Treo under the Windows Mobile banner, then sell a lower-model-number, equivalent-hardware device a few months later running FrankenGarnet.

Moto also has some smartphones based on Windows Mobile.

Put the two together, and you've still got a combined company that sells smartphones phones based on at least three OSes... But the largest single chunk of smartphones out of that combination would be based on WM.

I've not seen any WM6 based devices in person yet, so I cannot comment on whether it is any better as an OS than WM5.
post #19 of 114
When are analysts going to get this, iPhone ISNT a smartphone. Its a totally new platform.
It's patented to the hilt, nobody can imitate it: imitation=get sued.

The only way to compete is to go one better, which doesn't seem like it cant be possiable for at LEAST 5 years. It took Apple 2 (maybe 3) years to get this done - how long do you think it would take Moto/Palm, Nokia or Sony to come even close?

Moto or Nokia buying Palm makes NO difference to anything. Windows mobile devices arent even in the same postcode as iPhone's interface - thats where it counts to the global majority of people.

The other thing, and this is the killer blow, say Nokia buy palm. who cares? - ALL the telcos still have ALL of the current phone/smartphone makers by the short ones. When have you ever heard a telco modify thier network to accomdate some new model from Nokia? never.

The big story is the 'deal' with the telcos - Apple has changed the game with iPhone, just most people haven't looked past the hardware into the bigger picture.

Z
post #20 of 114
I'd bet Apple is shitting it, not.
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post #21 of 114
Hey, maybe Michael Dell is looking for a quick way to get in the market? They probably don't have the time to come up with another winner like the Dell DJ was in competing against the iPod, so the easier solution is to use all that market cap to take over Palm and come out with the Dell Palm!
post #22 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

How are two shitty companies supposed to become better by merging?

LOL, Hear Hear.
post #23 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Tung View Post

These analyst reports make no sense. How would Motorola purchasing Palm make them the largest Windows Mobile supplier and become Microsoft's best hope in fighting against RIM and Apple?? So the logic is Moto + Palm = Windows Mobile OS AND no more Palm OS!? I don't understand why this guy thinks Motorola merging with Palm will somehow create a mega Windows Mobile supplier. Why? Because Motorola can effectively kill off Palm OS?

Reading these reports makes me want to quit my job and become an analyst.

Palm no longer own the Palm OS. They sold the OS to some company called Access (I believe) a couple of years back and then started making Windows Mobile devices, along with rebranding themselves 'Palm Source'. About 6 months ago they then bought an indefinite license for the Palm OS back from Access.

This whole thing could have been to set themselves up as an easy purchase. Much easier to buy a company thats not attached to a specific operating system that nobody else uses, and buy one that produces devices that are compatible with your own...

Sure, Apple could buy Palm, but it doesn't make much sense does it? They might get the customers, but they'd be forcing them onto a new operating system (its not as if Apple would use Palm OS would they).

I'd see motorola as a more likely buyer than nokia too.
post #24 of 114
Anyone silly enough to waste real money on Palm deserves what they get. Palm is a company that has innovated so slowly that a new word combination needs to be coined to define this, so I'll take a whack at it. How about...languidley innovative?

Let's review Palm's history. In 1996 the Palm Pilot 1000 was introduced and, while having few capabilities (no backlighting, 512K RAM, and no flash RAM) it was a hit that led to subsequent Palms, which over the next 11 years managed to get color, static RAM, and more RAM after staying at 8 Meg for what seemed like an eternity. But the Palm 5 OS is by all accounts very much over the hill and now is unable to really compete with Pocket PC (or whatever MS is calling Windows Portable these days). While the Pilot had a handwriting recognition routine called Graffitti, but should have been called Sanskrit, today the Palm uses...a keypad for its phones data entry, one that consists of keys that are, to use a term coined by David Pogue, the size of Hydrogen atoms.

Now enters Apple's iPhone, a phone that can play movies, download and play iTunes music, has a screen that respondes to finger gestures, supports Google Maps and Yahoo! mail, visual voice mail, and web surfing that looks like a real browser. In other words, the iPhone can do what the Palm phones cannot, other than make phone calls, and when it comes into conferencing the Palm cannot even do that.

So, Palm is threat to Apple in what way?

My only hope is that Nokia, Motorola (I'm betting on these bozos), or Microsoft (Ballmer isn't that stupid) will buy Palm and spend so much time trying to update the Palm OS (POS) that by the time they get it to a version competative with iPhone v.1, Apple will be at..., oh, I don't know, v. 7 or something like that.
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post #25 of 114
I agree with all those who called BS on this. Don't you just love all these stupid dire predictions that the iPhone is doomed before it hits the shelves? That idiot Kahuna on CNBC (who doesn't know an iPod from an iPhone) said the iPod (iPhone) may be doomed before it hits the shelves by the Google phone. Sheesh, gimme a break!

The smartphone market is quite small and it's said that the iPhone isn't a true smartphone. Fine. That's probably a good thing because the iPhone will attract a lot more users than just from the smartphone market.
post #26 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

How are two shitty companies supposed to become better by merging?



Like Alcatel and Lucent. Or even better, AOL and TW.

2+2 < 4

post #27 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdhouse4 View Post

....While the Pilot had a handwriting recognition routine called Graffitti [sic], but should have been called Sanskrit.....

Ummmmm......

What's the connection between graffiti (one 't,' and a small 'g' will suffice) and Sanskrit (the mother of all Indo-European languages)?

post #28 of 114
I'll just repeat what I think someone has already said: if Palm makes Windows Mobile phones, and Motorola makes Windows Mobile Phones, how does a merger between the two:

a) Improve Motorola's market position, and

b) Mean anything at all to the iPhone?

Is it that Motorola couldn't make something with the Treo form factor on their own? That is, a screen with a tiny keyboard under it? Oh, that's right, they already do, the Q.

Windows Mobile, check, smart phone with Treo form factor, check...... what does Motorola need with Palm, again?

And Motorola selling just the Q, or just the Treo, or both, means what for iPhone prospects?

Personally I think it's good news for the iPhone, since Motorola will probably screw up whatever is desirable about the Treo and end up just taking one of the players off the board.
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post #29 of 114
Apple:
1. Strong vision. Whether you agree with it or not. Whether we even know what it is. Apple has one.
2. iPhone arrives in a few months.
3. iPhone buzz is off the charts.

Motorola+Palm:
1. Digestion problems. Mot lays off all the admin people and then half the engineers walk out the door. Bottom line: no forward progress for months and months.
2. Digestion problems: Palm and Mot engineers fight over whose vision is better. Bottom line: Years of no progress.

Someone might buy Palm, but they get nothing. And, I am not even referring to the fact that Palm does not own Palm OS.

By the time that Nokia+Palm can ship something, Apple will be shipping version 3 of its iPhone.

I hope Ed Zander and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo are smarter than this silly "prediction".
post #30 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Ummmmm......
What's the connection between graffiti (one 't,' and a small 'g' will suffice) and Sanskrit (the mother of all Indo-European languages)?

Woah, now! Someone's a little too attached to the Out-of-India theory. Firstly, no, Sanskrit is not the mother tongue even in the OIT, merely as the direct descendant. Generally evidence suggests migration into India from current-day Afghanistan by Indo-Avestan speakers, who were in turn descended from speakers of Proto-Indo-European, whether or not you consider Turkey or Ukraine as the staring ground. The OIT is an earlier theory that still has legitimate supporters, but there are far fewer.

Secondly, Graffiti was a writing system for the Palm OS. He's remarking that it looks kinda-sorta-but-not-really like written Sanskrit.
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post #31 of 114
The difference between Palm and Apple is that Palm is run by engineers, and Apple by designers. Palm crams goofy features into the phone that appeal from a specification standpoint, and Apple designs something that (is beautiful and) nobody really knows what it is for yet.

Motorola and Nokia are both very engineering intensive companies. What could Palm offer them?

The only thing that Palm could offer anybody is the private equity folks. Trim it down, figure out a mission, and make something that people want... innovate.
post #32 of 114
multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch, multi-touch,

enough said
post #33 of 114
I have a Palm device (Treo 650), Apple has nothing to worry about. I've had several Treo's. Not because I upgraded but because they keep breaking. My friend says you need to have three Treo's so you always have one that works. The software crashes a lot and the hardware fails easily. I've had to replace the phone because of button problems, screen problems, ear piece problems and speaker problems. Don't get me started on the pathetic job they did with Bluetooth. Palm support sucks. I can't wait for the iPhone. There is not a single phone manufacturer that can create and build a device in the way Apple can. WM will never be what OSX is even in it's "lite" version. I'll even buck up and learn to like Cingular when I switch. Garnet has it's own problems and will not easily port to something like a RZR and you can count on Moto screwing it up anyhow.
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post #34 of 114
The best thing in the world right now for Apple is for Palm to be sold to Motorola.

Palm is already rudderless, having abandoned and reclaimed their own operating system. They've split their userbase between those who like the form factor and features of their Treo line (which Palm's founders had to leave the company to make, and Palm later acquired) and those who like the Palm's operating system, but want to see it (finally) advance past Garnet.

Aside from their Razor line of fashion phones, Motorola doesn't have a clue. If Motorola purchases Palm, they'll have even less of an idea of what to do with PalmOS, and they'll become another also-ran manufacturer of smartphones using Microsoft's software. The PalmOS fans will likely find Apple's iPhone more appealing once the final nail is in Palm's coffin.

I've used Palm products since the III. I've used their smartphones since the Visorphone attachment for the Handspring Visor. I like my current phone, the Treo 650, just fine, but I don't see the way forward for Palm. The PalmOS is stagnant, and I'm not interested in the MS smartphone variants. I think the iPhone is overpriced and I don't like the carrier restriction, but if it became clear that Palm was no longer going to be a player, and that PalmOS was well and truly abandoned once and forever, the iPhone suddenly starts to look much better.

The nightmare scenario for Apple? Palm is purchased by Nokia. I think they'd have a much better chance at turning the company around than Motorola does. Motorola desperately needs more UI consistency across their product line, but I don't imagine for a second that they can just acquire it.
post #35 of 114
The investment bankers realize that this is their last chance to make a buck by putting Palm in play, and want to broker it to some other paranoid company before Palm becomes worthless! If Palm had anything unique about it, it wouldn't be in the predicament that it is in now. Most of the commentators on this board are correct - the iPhone UI, OS, and seamless integration with all of Apple's software are what make the iPhone very desireable. Buying Palm is like trying to catch a falling sword. It can be done, but the buyer will be bloody in the end. The Apple juggernaut is about to roll!
post #36 of 114
I think what this report is missing is the dumb logistics of a takeover. Even if Company X were to take over Palm tomorrow morning, it'd take them two months to rework the phones in their own buildings, much less to roll out a revolutionary product. Analyists can talk numbers and advantages all they want, but in the end, they're not just buying a bundle of technology and assets, they're buying a corporation, complete with its people and the corporate culture that comes with them.

No matter how revolutionary, say, Motorola+Palm looks on paper, Apple has the human advantage: whatever Apple's people are doing, they're doing it right and producing revolutionary products. If Company X tries to merge another corporate culture into its own... let's put it this way, they might revolutionize today's cellphone industry in two or three years. iPhone ships in just over two months while half the people at Company X would still be reworking their desk phones.
post #37 of 114
The best thing that could happen to the iPhone (competition-wise) is for Motorola to buy Palm. Have you *ever* used *any* software that came out of Motorola that didn't suck as much as Microsoft's? Once they get their hands on Palm and get their DNA into it, it'll stink.
post #38 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zillatron View Post

When are analysts going to get this, iPhone ISNT a smartphone. Its a totally new platform.
It's patented to the hilt, nobody can imitate it: imitation=get sued.

The only way to compete is to go one better, which doesn't seem like it cant be possiable for at LEAST 5 years. It took Apple 2 (maybe 3) years to get this done - how long do you think it would take Moto/Palm, Nokia or Sony to come even close?

You see that is the issue, it is not a smart phone, which means it cannot compete with Nokia, or Ericsson. And just because if has a patent or two doesn't mean it is any good

It won't take Nokia long to catch up, as they are already past the iPhone in functionality, you see Nokia actually sells phones, their phones are available in shops for purchase (and you can buy them without contract, and with 3G support)

Quote:
The other thing, and this is the killer blow, say Nokia buy palm. who cares? - ALL the telcos still have ALL of the current phone/smartphone makers by the short ones. When have you ever heard a telco modify thier network to accomdate some new model from Nokia? never.

Now who makes those networks that they are modifying, that's right, Nokia, and Ericsson, so I imagine they have done in the past. Also when is Apple going to modify their phone to support all the GSM standards they are missing (like MMS etc)

A two year contract does not sound like a great thing to get lumped with after forking out that much for a phone. Cingular haven't bent over for Apple like people make it out to be, they will be making quite a bit of money out of the deal.
post #39 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by EruIthildur View Post

Huh?????
It has all in the world to do... Can you not see the implications of a stronger enemy? Think.

I think he was 100% correct. I read it and thought exactly what he did.

When you contemplate buying a phone do you look at the company that is making it, their reserves, who they might be partnered with, their ownership structure etc - or do you look at the phone and assess its qualities?

They could only threaten the iPhone if the new entity could come up with actual product - an iPhone rival - before it is launched. That isn't going to happen - could they come up with a rival product in 12 months? No.

The only relevant 'strength' a rival can have is the ability to come up with a rival product - nothing else matters because when you or I are looking to buy a phone/device we are going to be comparing the products, not the companies that made them.

Microsoft and Toshiba could not come up with a real rival to even the iPod. The iPhone is a substantially more complex device with far greater depth to its underlying technologies. It is going to be much harder for a potential rival to equal, let alone better it.

That article was an instance of someone trying to justify their salary by trying to demonstrate their incisive analysis of events - really they were just being a harbinger of doom because they think if you talk about threats, risks, conflicts and such, people will take you more seriously than if you just say - 'nothing to worry about, will have little or no real impact on the marketplace'
post #40 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by iHarry View Post

WM will never be what OSX is even in it's "lite" version.

You cannot possibly have evidence to back that up yet -- so far we only have marketing-speak to tell us anything about the iPhone OS's capabilities. Call me when you've got first-hand evidence.

Quote:
Garnet has it's own problems and will not easily port to something like a RZR and you can count on Moto screwing it up anyhow.

Garnet is dead. I've given up on waiting for a viable PalmOS successor. WM5 really has grown on me.

And --no guess work or conjecture here-- there's a freely available RAD development system available which will allow anyone to produce .NET applications which will run equally well on a Windows PC and a Windows Mobile device with a single binary, and nobody controls which 3rd party apps I put on my WM device but me. The same cannot be said --yet-- of the iPhone.
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