Archive for April, 2010

HP acquires Palm

April 28, 2010

On April 28, 2010 HP agreed to acquire Palm Inc for $ 1.2 Billion

Palm is an amazing company; created Palm Pilot that brought “hand-writing” to computers in 1996 (where Apple failed in 1992 with its Apple Newton!)

Palm OS had an amazing simplicity and created “PDA” as a new class of gadgets; they were the best for keeping track of Calendar and Contacts; and a real value for money. They kept innovating by adding communication to PDA’s thru Palm Treo devices (much before the word Smartphone was invented!). Of course, they struggled – acquisition by US Robotics, hardware and software separation, getting sold to a Japanese company and finally revival with a ray of hope with ex Apple iPod designer getting back as CEO; within months an amazing product came out (Palm Centro). Of course with a great vision Palm brought out Palm Pre and WebOS 2 years back, but could not convince the US carriers (I wish they had flooded Asian and European markets where  “free” phones dominate (not tied to a career)! US is the country where practically no one enjoys “free” phone; the Telcos control the market in USA; even Apple could not fight AT&T!) But the struggle of the past 2 years has almost finished Palm much to the disappointment of many of us (long time Palm admirers). I have used practically every model of Palm!

HP‘s foray into “handheld computers” is not new – it is at least 15 years old! I have a nice  PDA running Windows 3.0 of 1996 vintage! They followed it up with Jornada. With Compaq acquisition Jornada got killed and iPaq became HP’s key PDA. For a while, HP talked of manufacturing Apple iPad though it never happened. With Palm acquisition HP has a good chance of making it

Mobile phones are the future; Motorola created mobile phone but it is always in “fits and starts” in the market; Nokia created the market, but unable to master “smart phones”. Apple created “Smart phone”, but cannot get even 3 models in 3 years (unlike Nokia, Samsung or even Motorola with dozens of models). Microsoft Phone appears promising but they might go the Zune way (into nowhere). It would be really interesting if HP can pump money into Palm (they badly need it), get WebOS products out, manufacture & distribute (HP is really good at it) and “mobilize” all applications (the way BlackBerry mobilized one application called “EMail”)

I wish the marriage great progeny (of products!)

It will be interestuing to watch

Professor CK Prahalad is no more

April 17, 2010

Professor C K Prahalad renowned management guru passed away on April 16, 2010 Friday night in San Diego after a brief illness

Considered by many as one of the foremost management gurus of our times, Professor Prahalad has influenced the broad thinking in the filed of business management through his powerful ideas often articulated extremely well in his series of books

  • Competing for the future,
  • Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid
  • The future of the competition
  • New age of innovation

and his articles in Harvard Business Review such as “The core competence of the corporation” (one of the most downloaded article of HBR)

“Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” is an idea that has changed the way corporations across the world designed products & services. He urged the chief executives of many Fortune 500 companies to look at the emerging markets as the target for designing products instead of designing products for the First World and selling them in the Third World post their economic life. In fact in several policy circles “BoP” (bottom of the pyramid) had become a standard acronym.

We in IIIT-B were fortunate enough to host his center, aptly titled “Center for Global Resource Leverage” in the past five years.

Professor Prahalad had amazing energy even at his age of 65; he used to be the first one to arrive in the IIIT-B campus in 2007 when we conducted a 2-week Research Bootcamp for B  School Professors and had the stamina to teach for hours!

In the recent years he has been able to galvanize positive energy among many senior members of several Indian corporations. His article on “India @ 75” is widely used by CII in several of its conferences. Generations of Indians will continue to draw inspiration from his active & productive life that made a huge difference to India and the world.

Apple iPad reaches users hands; Richard Gutjahr is the lucky person to get the first iPad

April 3, 2010

Today (April 3, 2010) is the official launch day for Apple iPad which many of us feel is creating the “third” platform (between PC and a smart phone)

People queued up outside many Apple Stores; the one in New York city were the first to get it as Apple decided to start selling only in USA at 9 AM local time

Mr Richard Gutjahr the German blogger was not the first in the queue; but Apple policy decided to give preference to those who had made reservations (that opened on March 12); Richard Gutjahr was the first in the line who had made reservation; within 10 minutes he was out of the Stores as a proud owner of the “revolutionary” product!

It will be interesting to watch the consumer acceptance / rejection of this product in the next quarter

Ed Roberts PC pioneer is no more

April 2, 2010

On April 2, 2010 Ed Roberts who created MITS ALTAIR computer, died t the age of 68

Writing BASIC program for MTS ALTAIR gave the much needed break for Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen; in the process, PC industry was created

A product of Oklahoma State University, Ed Roberts pursued Medicine as his second career (due to a 5 year condition that he will not make another computer when ALTAIR was acquired for a million dollar) and practiced Medicine till recently

Interesting twist; ALTAIR was perhaps the first general purpose inexpensive computer; Ed Roberts must be credited with the invention of PC in a way, though he never got the credit

Bill Gates and Paul Allen visited the ailing Ed Robets recently, a nice gesture for the two uber-rich billionaires