updated 06:00 pm EDT, Fri April 23, 2010
Palm may be in radical exec shakeup
Palm is in the middle of a major corporate shuffle that could see its CEO Jon Rubinstein out, a major rumor argued this evening. The new structure and any other departures weren't mentioned by the TechCrunch source, but the move itself would invariably be a reaction to dropping smartphone sales. Palm hasn't had an opportunity to respond.
The rumors would be indirectly supported by SEC filings that showed Palm paying $250,000 bonuses to keep certain executives onboard. Carrier marketing VP Caitlin Spaan is already rumored to be leaving.
Rubinstein was brought on to Palm in 2007 to help advise the company on its strategy, particularly on the hardware side. He has regularly been credited with using his experience at Apple to simplify Palm's lineup and give it a more iconic design language that first showed up in the Centro and Treo Pro. Many engineers hired at Palm in Rubinstein's presence have been former Apple developers, and much of the company's marketing strategy has also reflected the influence.
Some of this reengineering has resulted in favorable reviews for webOS devices but seldom translated into sales, in part because of Palm's launch strategy. The Palm Pre arrived just days before the unveiling of the iPhone 3GS and was made a Sprint exclusive for several months in 2009, pushing a Verizon expansion to after the Droid launch and likely costing valuable early adopter sales.