Last time I wrote about my customers, employees and investors who have stayed loyal, have stuck it out with me, and how much I appreciate that. (If you missed it and you are one of the unnamed many, thanks!)
As I have watched these names move from device to device, it makes me wonder which device makers are really creating brand loyalty. Clearly Apple is the king, as the tongue-wagging fanboys get overly excited about every device they bring out. (Frankly, usually for very good reason as they make some amazing devices.) RIM is another one, although their loyalty is more of the cool, upper management variety than the technology geeks of the world. It’s the “look, I can send emails rapid fire while the rest of you slobs are wasting time waiting for the train” variety.
This is where Palm and Microsoft are struggling. It seems that people can’t wait to get away from Windows Mobile, that it’s a compromise when they can’t get something else. The loyalty doesn’t seem to be there.
Palm is a different case. They once had it. The loyalty of their customers was of the Franklin-Covey, life organizer variety. The “you can pry this device from my cold, dead hands” variety. Somewhere along the line that disappeared. Now all those customer names are appearing on lists waiting for iPhone or BlackBerry Storm versions of our software. Maybe they got tired of waiting; maybe they got tired of the horrible support and square pegs in round hole products.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe these folks have been waiting for a new Palm — that promised device from those vaunted luminaries of mobile tech. And maybe they will be rewarded. When Apple almost died, they had also almost lost their loyalty base. That group has come back en masse over the past decade and, at the same time, Apple has added a whole new generation.
Can Palm pull it off, too? We’ll see.