Palm chief addresses poor TouchPad reviews, compares webOS to Apple's early Mac OS X

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Former Palm CEO and current HP executive Jon Rubenstein sent a letter to employees addressing lukewarm reviews of its new TouchPad tablet, and suggested that criticism of its webOS operating system is similar to complaints reviewers had with early versions of Mac OS X.



The letter from Rubinstein, who is senior vice president and general manager of HP's Palm Global Business Unit, came in response to reviews that characterized the newly launched TouchPad as a "mediocre tablet." Reviewers were impressed with the look of the TouchPad, but took issue with the device's weight, bugs, and lack of applications.



Rubinstein's letter, shared by Precentral.net (via Daring Fireball), stresses the positive and states that the industry "understand's HP's vision," seeing the "same potential in webOS." He also said that issues highlighted by reviewers are already known at HP, and will be addressed quickly with over-the-air updates.



"We still have work to do to make webOS the platform we know it can be, but remember... it's a marathon, not a sprint," Rubinstein wrote.



He then shared a trio of quotes from reviews from a different piece of software that launched more than 10 years ago: Apple's own Mac OS X operating system. Those early reviews characterized the software as "sluggish," without any "quality apps," and "just not making sense."



"It's hard to believe those statements described Mac OS X -- a platform that would go on to change the landscape of Silicon Valley in ways that no one could have imagined," he said.



In closing, Rubinstein, highlighted what he sees as the "potential for greatness" in webOS. He believes that users of the TouchPad understand that potential as well, and with HP's commitment to webOS, the potential will become a reality.



Last year, HP bought Palm for $1.2 billion. The acquisition brought HP into the smartphone industry, where the Palm Pre and other devices aim to compete with Apple's iPhone.



Prior to joining Palm, Rubinstein played an important role at Apple as the head of the company's iPod division. Rubinstein was instrumental in the creation of the iPod and discovered the portable hard drives that were used in the first models.







Rubinstein's entire e-mail, sent out internally at HP to the company's staff last week, is included below:



Team,



Today we bring the HP TouchPad and webOS 3.0 to the world. The HP team has achieved something extraordinary ? especially when you consider that it?s been just one year since our work on the TouchPad began in earnest. Today also marks the start of a new era for HP as our vision for connected mobility begins to take form - an ecosystem of services, applications and devices connected seamlessly by webOS.



If you?ve seen the recent TouchPad reviews you know that the industry understands HP?s vision and sees the same potential in webOS as we do. David Pogue from the New York Times says ?there are signs of greatness here.? (I?ve included links to David?s review and others below.) You?ve also seen that reviewers rightly note things we need to improve about the webOS experience. The good news is that most of the issues they cite are already known to us and will be addressed in short order by over-the-air software and app catalog updates. We still have work to do to make webOS the platform we know it can be, but remember?..it?s a marathon, not a sprint.



In that spirit, Richard Kerris, head of worldwide developer relations for webOS, reminded me yesterday of the first reviews for a product introduced a little over ten years ago:



"...overall the software is sluggish"

"...there are no quality apps to use, so it won?t last"

"...it's just not making sense...."



It?s hard to believe these statements described MacOS X - a platform that would go on to change the landscape of Silicon Valley in ways that no one could have imagined.



The similarities to our situation are obvious, but there?s also a big difference. Like David Pogue, our audiences get that webOS has the potential for greatness. And like me, they know that your hard work and passion, and the power of HP?s commitment to webOS, will turn that potential into the real thing.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 109
    applegreenapplegreen Posts: 421member
    The question is: How much is HP willing to lose (i.e., invest) before they give up?
  • Reply 2 of 109
    riderrider Posts: 31member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    "We still have work to do to make webOS the platform we know it can be, but remember... it's a marathon, not a sprint," Rubinstein wrote.

    [/url][/c]



    A marathon in which they started running 2 years after others,so they better sprint all they way if they wanna get placed ( or somewhere near that)
  • Reply 3 of 109
    vinitaboyvinitaboy Posts: 156member
    I always wondered what the term "disgruntled former employee" meant in real-world usage. Jon Rubinstein's picture now appears in the Silicon Valley Tech Dictionary alongside the term. Good luck, Jon. Keep taking your anti-anxiety medication.
  • Reply 4 of 109
    maccherrymaccherry Posts: 924member
    I cant believe that a-hole compared that crap tochpad to the early build of OSX.

    This just goes to show how much Jon Rubinstein wanted the top spot at Apple. Jealous lil boy. HP failed. Hate that washed up PC maker with their cheap a** calculators.
  • Reply 5 of 109
    gprovidagprovida Posts: 247member
    In other words, its OK to bring a new beast to the table, but WebOS does not have OS9 fall back. This would be like saying iOS in 2007 was like 10.0, and 10.1, it was not. It was fast, smooth, and slick, yeah there new features desired and they came along, but the version iOS1.0 was pretty good and operational on day 1. I know I got one and it just kept getting better and better.



    So HP is doing the Rim and Google Android/Chrome, that is, release a beta and eventually release a final product version 1 in a year or so. Its ironic that MS is more like Apple in trying to get out a quality product versus a beta and let the users sort it out.



    This is tough call, it takes time [Apple took years and a lot of money, ergo their being pissed with Samsung copycats not competing] to master the performance in the meantime Apple gobbles up market and worst keeps moving the goal posts with improvements.



    So HP, RIM, and Google have chosen get to market and fix the product later. Hopefully, Apple's inability to meet demand will persuade users to grab a beta and live with it.



    I do find it ironic that HP and RIM get poor to middling reviews on their products and Google with equally poor hardware/software on tablets gets a pass, 'grading on the curve."



    Observations may be reviewers are now embarrassed by their leaning over backward on Google and nailing HP and RIM.
  • Reply 6 of 109
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    The question is: How much is HP willing to lose (i.e., invest) before they give up?



    I think you're probably right. I welcome quality competition in the mobile OS space - it fosters more ideas from which we all benefit, but at the same time, HP is a business and they won't put up with losses for a long time.
  • Reply 7 of 109
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In that spirit, Richard Kerris, head of worldwide developer relations for webOS, reminded me yesterday of the first reviews for a product introduced a little over ten years ago:



    "...there are no quality apps to use, so it won?t last"



    It?s hard to believe these statements described MacOS X - a platform that would go on to change the landscape of Silicon Valley in ways that no one could have imagined.



    Yeah, however there was Classic mode, so OS X Macs could still run legacy OS 9 (and earlier) applications.



    The first really usable version of OS X was 10.2 Jaguar, launched in August 2002. By that time, there was an OS X version of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Reply 8 of 109
    mac.worldmac.world Posts: 340member
    I think Jon Rubenstein just got it up the pooper by the HP board and they didn't use any lube.
  • Reply 9 of 109
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
  • Reply 10 of 109
    Does HP's tablet not look exactly like the iPad, save its underbelly color? Are you kidding? And CEO's so-called vision of interconnectedness? Has Apple not already achieved this? They're share of the worlds tablet air space is 1% (50 times more than any of its competitors) as reported by AppleInsider just yesterday. Hey CEO ... go back to the drawing "tablet" and start with an idea that's YOURS.
  • Reply 11 of 109
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,570member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    The question is: How much is HP willing to lose (i.e., invest) before they give up?



    That is exactly it, he maybe 100% correct but the difference is Steve was 100% all in on OSX they had no other choice. HP is not going to wait years to recovery the investment. At some point they will pull the plug if they do not see some reasonable return.



    The question, is HP going after the all encompassing consumer market or is their plan to bundle this with the enterprise business solutions similar to RIM is doing with their play book.
  • Reply 12 of 109
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    The question is: How much is HP willing to lose (i.e., invest) before they give up?



    HP plays a long, slow game. Even if TouchPad doesn't sell at all, they will probably keep at it for a few years at least before they give up.



    I like their chances myself.



    WebOS is so much better than Android in terms of a fit to the market and the users. Android is proprietary, invasive, and primarily only useful for the young techie males it's aimed at. WebOS on the other hand is completely open (to balance the proprietary Apple system), and aimed at the entire market, not just the "I'm a tech head" subsection.



    Overall, since Apple is likely to get the Lion's share of the entire market over time, having an alternative system that's very similar, but open, flexible, and based on open technology would be a great fit.
  • Reply 13 of 109
    LOL...I love how they didn't site the source of the OS X review quotes...there were a lot of peeps who didn't want OS X to succeed 10 yrs ago...random quotes are meaningless.
  • Reply 14 of 109
    caliminiuscaliminius Posts: 944member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post


    I cant believe that a-hole compared that crap tochpad to the early build of OSX.

    This just goes to show how much Jon Rubinstein wanted the top spot at Apple. Jealous lil boy. HP failed. Hate that washed up PC maker with their cheap a** calculators.



    speaking of a-holes...
  • Reply 15 of 109
    Sure it's a marathon Jon, but you didn't mention that it's an uphill one. Some things ARE better left unsaid I guess...
  • Reply 16 of 109
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kabantum View Post


    Does HP's tablet not look exactly like the iPad, save its underbelly color?



    I think it's more of an iPad as re-imagined by Fisher Price.
  • Reply 17 of 109
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,803member
    Seriously guys I love my Apple hardware but you guys have extremely short memories.



    For one he is right about OS/X, as nice as it is now it took awhile to get there. There where significant bugs that didn't get removed until Snow Leopard. However does anybody really expect bug free releases of things as complicated as an OS and the attendant SDKs?



    The same goes for iOS. If any of you where involved in the first SDK release you will know what I'm talking about. Apple had many iOS releases in quick succession to deal with significant bugs.



    IPad is actually an exception for Apple as it has had a very stable OS from release. Most likely that is due to all the "public" debugging seen with iPhone. In the end this tablet is no different than any other rev one product.



    On the otherhand people do gave some very positive things to say about HPs new tablet. Sadly we have deteriorated into a culture of negativity, so much so people can't even balance pros and cons anymore. Frankly I could come up with all sorts of things people see as negatives with the iPad, but why reinforce defective thinking?



    Worst people have already made up their mind that TouchPad is a failure. That is a big mistake in my mind. You can be pretty sure Apple is already looking over TouchPad if for nothing else to better understand their weaknesses relative to TouchPad.



    Being a fan boi is one thing but blinding yourself to what is happening in the rest of the industry is pretty stupid. Besides it is in Apples best interest to have an non Android competitor.
  • Reply 18 of 109
    zoolookzoolook Posts: 657member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post


    I cant believe that a-hole compared that crap tochpad to the early build of OSX.

    This just goes to show how much Jon Rubinstein wanted the top spot at Apple. Jealous lil boy. HP failed. Hate that washed up PC maker with their cheap a** calculators.



    Grow up you dim-wit... what have you done with your life so far? You also clearly know nothing about HP, which as well as building 'cheap-a** calculators' also builds printers, offers consulting services (I have two HP consultants working for me right now) as well as systems architecture solutions, server solutions, support desk implementations etc.



    Apple doesn't offer any of that, and doesn't want to either - but the comparison with the 10.0 and even 10.1 versions of OS X is extremely valid. One could argue that OS X wasn't really OS X until 10.3 or even 10.4 (Core Audio, Core Animation, Expose, Spotlight) - basically all those things that people today would argue 'defines' the OS X experience. NONE of them existed in 10.0...



    Some of the other posts here are even worse than yours; I can't even be bothered there.
  • Reply 19 of 109
    timgriff84timgriff84 Posts: 909member
    To be fair to this guy what he said is true. I switched to Mac very early on but it was Tiger that really put the finishing touches to make it a great OS.



    That being said though, whats really made Apple and OS X successful is iPod and iPhones. If it wern't for those Mac sales wouldn't be increasing as they are now. I don't see HP having much success with this as there's no actual reason to switch to it.
  • Reply 20 of 109
    anifananifan Posts: 25member
    The similarities are intriguing. Abandoning an old, outdated OS with a reasonable level of success for a new, shiny, buggy, sluggish OS with no applications with only a highly dedicated, bordering on insanely loyal, fandom.



    I don't know if HP can deliver though.
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