If you don't have time to read it Ed Hansberry basically suggests that Palm may have lost all its momentum and that it may very well not survive in the mobile OS war because there are already too many platforms out there. That's an interesting statement because I agree with Mr. Hansbery as much as I disagree with him.
As I have shared on this site on multiple occasions, I believe Palm's webOS is one of the most sophisticated, elegant and aesthetically pleasing mobile platforms available in the market today...yet somehow the market has not picked up on it. Why is that?
I think there are a number of issues, and not all of them are Palm's fault. In fact, I think many of the "misteps" have been out of Palm's control. The first one was the kickoff with Sprint. Palm teamed up with the #3 carrier in the US as opposed to #1 or #2. Even with the Sprint deal, Palm could have done just fine, had Sprint pushed the device. Unfortunately, the marketing wasn't there on Sprint's part, and whenever I went to Sprint stores, the sales rep didn't appear to be trained or incentivized to sell the product. They almost always said, "go with BlackBerry." This is not a knock on RIM, just a telling point regarding the attitude of the local Sprint sales reps.
Now Palm is selling webOS with Verizon Wireless. Too bad though that all the momentum, and most of the marketing dollars are split between Droid and BlackBerry devices. I don't use a webOS device. Why? Simply because it's not available (yet) for AT&T. While there is a GSM version available, it's currently only available outside of the US.
But there is more. The press around Palm is not positive these days...and Palm's stock has certainly suffered of late. Jon Rubinstein sent out a memo to employees, but what about more public statements? What about teasers of new products or developing strategies. Nothing so far. Mr. Hansberry points out correctly we have heard nothing about webOS 2.0 - that could certainly help assuage concerns about Palm's ongoing viability.
Speaking of Mr. Hansberry, let's get back to his article. He doesn't believe in webOS' long term viability. I couldn't disagree more. In fact, I predicted at the beginning of this year that someone would buy Palm out. At a stock price that is near its 52 week low, the company becomes that much more attractive. I still believe a company could buy them out and succeed with that purchase. The market can (currently) sustain 6 different platforms because there are enough people out there that the fragmentation can be supported. From an enterprise perspective, mobility management companies can address that heterogeneity, so it's really a non-issue.
So in conclusion if you're in the market for a new device - or hundreds of devices for your company, don't rule out webOS. It certainly has room for maturation, but so does Android. In fact, from an enterprise perspective, webOS is well ahead of Android. Palm just doesn't have all the money that Google has...