On Friday morning I saw a post over on PalmInfoCenter.com reporting that Palm was rumored to have started yet another round of lay offs. I was told by my Palm contact that Palm was not releasing any information about the rumored layoffs.
By Saturday morning, Reuters had reported that Palm did in fact layoff a portion of their workforce.
"Struggling smartphone maker Palm Inc said Friday it is cutting its workforce, a move the company takes as it loses market share to rivals Apple Inc and Research in Motion Ltd.
Spokeswoman Lynn Fox said the layoffs began this week, but she declined to say how many jobs would be cut.
Palm, which employs 1,050 workers, makes the Centro and Treo smartphones. The company's market share has been shrinking, with RIM's BlackBerry becoming the device of choice for the business set and Apple's iPhone a consumer phenomenon.
"The goal is to consolidate resources and focus our efforts more effectively," Fox said."
I feel sorry for the people who lost their jobs as we head into the 2008 holiday season. This is not the first time that Palm has had a reduction in headcount in the final months of the year and the current economic situation is not helping anything.
I know Jon Rubinstein is a former disciple of Apple chief Steve Jobs and secrecy is paramount. Since Rubinsein's arrival at Palm, there has been an air-tight seal around the company preventing any leaked information about their it-will-get-here-eventually next generation mobile operating system Palm OS II/Nova. For a long time I supported the company's decision to keep a tight lid on things until they where ready to launch the OS and the first mobile device that would be powered by it.
With the current state of the company being what it is, I think it is time to start leaking details on their new hardware and software sooner rather than later. Assuming that Palm has laid off 200 additional workers, the company is now employing about 850 people worldwide. On Friday, Palm's stock closed at $2.24 after dipping to under $2.00 earlier in the week. And, in a second statement found on TreoCentral.com, Palm indicates that:
"The global economic downturn continues to dampen demand for consumer goods around the world, and the impact on the economic environment is worsened by our maturing Centro line and the length of time it is taking to ramp our new Windows Mobile products."
I love using Palm's products and I really do want to see them succeed with Palm OS II/Nova and their next round of hardware. It would seem that now, more than ever, everything is working against Palm. I'm really concerned that mid-2009, seven months from now, is too long of a wait. It's time to start showing the world what Palm has been working on in their labs.