Can Palm save itself from irrelevance?

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein has outlined a new strategy to buoy sinking sales of its smartphone line.

The revised strategy - known as Project Jumpstart - reportedly includes the training of Verizon sales reps across the United States by over two hundred Palm Brand Ambassadors. 

Palm has also increased the number of WebOS ads on billboards, bus shelters and subway stations.

Can Palm save itself from irrelevance?"[We] just returned from a very successful meeting with Verizon Wireless, where they acknowledged that their execution of our launch was below expectations and recommitted to working with us to improve sales," Rubinstein explained in an official employee memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

"Early results from [Project Jumpstart] have already shown improvement on product knowledge and sales week over week. Our goals are taking longer than expected to achieve, but I am still confident that our talented team has what it takes to get the job done."

However, an Enderle Group analyst told TG Daily that Palm's chances of seriously competing against Apple, RIM and Android were almost nonexistent.

"Of course, anything is possible, but Palm's chances of effectively competing against Apple, Android [and RIM's Blackberry] are increasingly unlikely. The company burned through so much of its financial resources and did quite poorly with the Pre. It is much more likely that they will be acquired now," explained Rob Enderle.

"To compete in the marketplace, Palm will require lots of money and investors are unlikely to throw good money after bad. If Palm had done a better job with its Pre, that might have changed things, but they did so poorly and investors are likely to be quite nervous."

Enderle added that Palm had further complicated matters by initially picking an even "worse carrier" than AT&T.

"Palm had a really good Pre demo at CES, but a bad launch and a carrier that is even worse than AT&T - Sprint. Plus they had a marketing program that was essentially high functioning with very poor execution," said Enderle.

"There is nothing wrong with the Pre, it is actually a nice product, but their execution was just horrid, from marketing to carrier - it was almost suicidal."