Mentioning the Palm Pre always gets me thinking about a report from last December that Elevation Partners (ie. Bono and some Venture Capitalist chums) were pumping $100million into Palm. At the time, to little old me at least, it seemed daft that big bucks were being invested in some stagnant tech company. I just assumed Bono et al were throwing some more of their monopoly money away to prop up the firm in which they already owned a 25% stake. Of course, come January it was clear why they were so keen… Palm announced the Pre.
Here’s an excerpt of what Elevation said at the time of their investment:
“We believe that Palm is in a position to transform the cell phone industry, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to make this additional investment in the company … Palm has an industry-leading team and an exciting, differentiated product roadmap. We are proud to be associated with the company and look forward to great things from Palm in 2009 and beyond.”
Funny how what just sounded like optimistic investor blurb in December, now with hindsight seems so much more revealing.
But then maybe we should’ve all spotted a BIG product announcement coming anyway… after-all, Elevation Partners made a couple of their founding partners into directors of Palm (one of these being Fred Anderson – former VP, CFO, intertim-CEO and director of Apple) and installed Jon Rubenstein (former Senior VP of Hardware Engineering at Apple and Head of iPod Division) as Executive Chairman too. Since then Palm has poached Lynn Fox (was a director of PR at Apple), Mike Bell (was VP of CPU Software at Apple) and is said to have a standing offer of 1.5x salary for any Apple engineers looking to defect.
No wonder that Pre looks so impressive.