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December 07, 2010

Jon Rubinstein - Palm (Kara)

Jon Rubinstein - Palm (Kara)

Question about using other peoples product including iPhone. Jon: we wanted to have a unique experience. We thought through the fundamentals to create a unique experience. We have lots of people who use iphones, we have competitive analysis groups. I don't want to be tainted by other experiences. What we are seeing a lot in the industry everyone is copying the iPhone.

Kara: referring to Andy's comment last night about Palm history and legacy etc. Jon: we drew on the lessons but we didn't use any of the stuff before. WebOS is the most advanced mobile OS out there. We took a leap forward, it is very similar to what the Chrome guys did.

Kara: why didn't you get traction? We had a great team, product system, product pipeline, we had carriers, we had developers, we had cash. But I think the market moved too fast as far as the competition went and we saw a very clear way to get to profitability. But we couldn't see how we were going to get to scale given the size of profitability. Clearly there are some things we could have done better. Marketing, speed. We ran out of runway so being acquired by HP is really positive. We looked at a variety of alternatives and we felt sale and partnering was the best way to get to scale.

Kara: who else and why HP? Jon: I can't disclose but we had around 6 companies interested. The reason HP got the company is that it made the most sense. They didn't have a great mobile strategy, we couldn't get to scale. This was really strategic for them. The biggest computer company in the world and they need to be in mobile.

Kara: do you feel you have autonomy? Jon: we are part of the personal systems group. We are a global business unit. We integrated part of the company and kept other pieces - including engineering - separate. Several hundred HP people came to join us. From my perspective what we were planning on doing and what HP wanted to do was very aligned. We are off and running and we have support from a variety if other groups including HP labs.

Should the Palm name continue? Kara says kill it. Jon it has stengths as well as brand recognition. Phones and tablet and a variety of products coming up, we haven't announced dates. We have a variety of radically new products coming including a new tablet.

Kara: can there be that many OS's out there? Jon: I think there are going to be 3-5 and we are going to be one of them. We have two build great products on a great OS and good relationships with the carriers to get the hero slots. Smart phones 30-40% in the Us, 20% worldwide. This is just the beginning, the mobile device space is the place to be. WebOS 2 has 50+ new features. We have enhanced multitasking, universal search "just type", developers can build plug ins for search engines, if you go to a a site with search capability you are prompted if you want to add it. Over the air provisioning lets us update all the time. It's going to scale very nicely on the tablet. I don't think that people are going to have one device. Can you have the abilityc to share the data in the cloud and can they interact. Eventually HP printers will be webOS based.

Audience: what's the WebOS story? How do you convince a consumer? Jon: one is we really do have a unique user experience. We really integrate into the cloud and it's going to be a user benefit. Connected device strategy is going to be really important. Right now we are really quiet as we integrate into HP. Stay tuned.

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