Palm, Inc. Celebrates Its Tenth Birthday

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It was 10 years ago that Palm, Inc. released the Pilot 1000 and Pilot 5000 handheld computers.

These quickly became the fastest selling consumer electronics devices in history. They didn’t aim to do as much as the other PDAs on the market, but what they did they did well. And they were small, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive as well.

Over the next several years, these first models were followed by other handhelds, each more successful than the last.

In late 1999, the Palm Vx debuted, one of the most popular handhelds of all time.

Later models faced increasing competition from both other Palm OS licensees and Pocket PCs.

To meet this challenge, Palm began exploring the realm of cellular-wireless access.

After several less-successful models came out, the Treo 600 smartphone debuted in 2003.

This device and its successors have done so well that they now account for the lion’s share of this company’s sales.

Looking forward, Palm seems determined to keep following this trend by putting ever greater emphasis on converged devices.

Business History

Ever since it was founded, Palm as a company has had a turbulent history.

It began operations in 1992 as Palm Computing. It was co-founded by Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, and Ed Colligan. Pilot 1000

In 1995, while looking for investors to help it launch its first handheld computer, Palm accepted an offer to be purchased by modem-maker U.S. Robotics Corp.

However, in 1997, 3Com Corp. acquired U.S. Robotics and Palm became a subsidiary. It wasn’t long before Hawkins and Dubinsky felt stifled by the 3Com corporate bureaucracy, and they urged chief executive officer Eric Benhamou to spin Palm off as a separate company. He declined.

Finding the arrangement untenable, Hawkins and Dubinsky left Palm in 1998 to form JD Technology, which later became Handspring, Inc. Colligan soon joined them.

Ironically, it was only a couple years later that 3Com spun-out Palm as an independent, publicly traded company in early 2000.

And in 2002, Palm formed PalmSource, Inc. as a wholly owned subsidiary responsible for developing and licensing the Palm platform.

Finally, in 2003, Palm announced the acquisition of Handspring, Inc., bringing Hawkins, Dubinsky and Colligan back into the fold.

At this same time, Palm changed its name to palmOne. But after this company bought complete rights to the “Palm” brand last year, it once again became Palm, Inc.

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