updated 06:10 pm EDT, Wed June 10, 2009
Rubinstein now Palm CEO
Palm on Wednesday appointed former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein to serve as CEO and chairman, according to the Associated Press. The decision comes just days after the company launched its Pre smartphone, a device that it expects to help remedy a number of financial troubles. Rubinstein will replace Ed Colligan, who was with the company for 16 years but has decided to move on and work with Elevation Partners after taking time off.
Rubinstein has been credited with leading the iPod development during his time at Apple. After leaving the company in 2006, he was held to the terms of a noncompete agreement (NCA) that lasted for a year. The NCA expired in 2007, at which time Elevation Partners negotiated with Palm to bring him on board.
The ex-Apple exec began "hanging out" with Palm teams by June of 2007, including the Pre project. Rubinstein was unimpressed by the hardware, however, and pushed to have the resistive touchscreen replaced with the capacitive technology used in products such as the iPhone. The hardware went through a complete overhaul in just 15 months. "We were basically running a marathon and doing a heart transplant in the middle of it," he recently said.
Palm anticipates that the Pre will bring the company to compete once again with the leaders in the smartphone industry, following years of falling market share. "With Palm webOS we have 10-plus years of innovation ahead of us, and the Palm Pre is already one of the year's hottest new products," Rubinstein said in regards to his expanded role.