Don’t Blame HP. It Was Palm That Killed WebOS 2 Years Ago

Several years ago, Palm announced its great comeback to the mobile world with the Palm Pre device and brand new operating system, the WebOS. It was so good that even the biggest Apple fanboys admitted that WebOS could be an acutal threat to the iPhone, a real competitor. What happened? Why is WebOS almost dead when it should have had such a prosperous future?

Love Your Community More Than Your Stockholders

In the summer-fall of 2009, the tech world prepared for Palm Pre’s release. It was a nice piece of technology and people loved it. There were no haters because they didn’t have anything to hate. There were no fanboys either. Every article and rumor you read online was actually, more or less, objectively written.

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Nevertheless, a world-wide community of Pre and WebOS lovers started to gather. The Mojo SDK was the development framework that anybody could use. Touchstone was about to popularize wireless charging. People started to organize events called PreDevCamps, a non-formal conference where geeks, developers and other people interested in mobile would chat about the upcoming Pre, WebOS and Mojo technologies. It was rumored that Palm would sponsor every event with several Pre devices so that everybody could test it. Developers would even be able to get one for development. It was a great idea and a nice little plan at the time.

Palm, You Disappointed Your Community

Personally, I was involved in organizing a local PreDevCamp event and was thrilled by the fact of how Palm took care of its community and was building an eco-system out of it. The community was heating up and if Palm had given them Pre’s to work on, I’m sure that they would really show how webOS could compete with Apple’s AppStore. But Palm failed, and it failed miserably.

All of a sudden, Palm refused to get involved with any PreDevCamp events. No sponsorship, no devices, nothing, just like that. Very well, Palm, have it your way. You disappointed the people who loved you even though you hadn’t even launched a hardware product. You broke our hearts.

What Is Left?

Literally nothing is left. The community all around the world suddenly disappeared, leaving Palm alone with its WebOS to fight in the harsh mobile wars. The Palm Pre was finally announced and people weren’t very pleased with it. WebOS was also disliked. Not even a full 2 years later, Palm got acquired by HP, and WebOS has been dead in the water ever since. The Pre is dead, but webOS “lives” as a technology inside HP looking for a buyer or someone who will license it for their own devices. I hope you got your $99 TouchPad.

It wasn’t HP who killed WebOS, probably the only true iOS competitor. No, it was Palm. Instead of making piles of money from apps and phones like Apple, instead of having a large piece of the mobile market like Android has today, Palm doesn’t have anything. Oh wait, Palm doesn’t exist anymore. What a shame.

Image credit: Engadget

Remember, your community of geeks and early adopters will define your way. Get them on your side and your succsess will be much closer and easier to accomplish. Google+ is in a similar situation right now and it relies on geeks to help him out.

Sometimes I wonder what the mobile market would look if Palm made the right choices. Would there still be Android devices around? Would Apple still be one of the biggest mobile players ever?

Instead of having great community driven applications like Nosh or, Palm decided to leave its community on its own. What are your thoughts?

Title image credit: TechGenie


Nikola Krajacic

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