Looks like Palm is up to their old tricks: screwing their partners.
I have a long history with Palm, for good and for bad. In about a one year period, Palm screwed Infinity Softworks three times, costing us millions in revenues.
The first time was when Palm dropped their education team. Palm had a very experienced, excellent team focused on the education market and handhelds as a a 1-to-1 solution. We made a bet-the-company decision and focused on graphing calculators in the 6-12 grades. In order for us to be successful, though, we needed acceptance on the College Board’s Advanced Placement Calculus exam. With that we had two states and lots of districts ready to put us on the approved list. We spent two years gaining acceptance on the exam, with Palm’s help, and just as we were approved for trials Palm fired their education team and the College Board backed out.
The second time was when Palm switched their backend software service from Handango to PalmGear, at that time the two primary leaders in mobile software sales. It wasn’t the switch but instead the terms: Palm + PalmGear started taking 65% of the MSRP for themselves and wanted us to develop a custom version of the software for their site without any urls, email address, etc., that could link back to our own web site. (When Apple entered the app market it was still like this. 30% margins felt like heaven!)
The third time is when Palm stopped bundling powerOne Personal. We had bundled an app with almost every Palm device for 7+ years, always giving them a product for free (we made our money on upsells). As we approached the release of a new device, Palm kept changing the requirements. Finally, with one week to final build, Palm asked us to localize our app into five languages. We lost 75% of our revenue within months, practically killing the company and any attempt to recover from the education bet.
I was hoping, with their downfall and the return of some great people from the early days of Palm, that the stripes had changed over there. But it looks like that is for naught. Palm had a deal with Motion Apps to provide a Palm OS simulator. While the simulator was not bundled it did require a ROM bundled with the device, which Palm has removed with webOS 2.0, apparently in breach of contract.
What a shame. Palm, in its early days, was an amazing company with incredible people. I know a number of those people are still there or returned but it is sad that the company DNA has been corrupted and destroyed. I have every right to be mad at Palm and wish for its demise, but instead I look back at that company and the work we did there and am just saddened that all that potential was tossed away.