Peter Skillman isn’t a household name, but he’s been with Palm for 11 years and is credited with the design of the Pre. Today we find out he’s leaving the sinking ship, and we’ve got no idea where he’s heading next. It makes sense in the grand scheme of things for Peter to do this. Mergers of this magnitude almost never go right, remember HP and Compaq?
Before the Palm Pre came out last year, Forbes published an article talking about the birth of Palm’s last chance at making it in the smartphone market. There were four people named as being responsible for the look and feel of Palm’s Pre and webOS platform: Matias Duarte, Mike Bell, Peter Skillman and Michael Abbott. Matias, who helped create the T-Mobile Sidekick, left Palm to work for Google on Android. Mike, who used to work for Apple, left Palm to work for Intel. Michael left Palm to work for Twitter. And no we’ve got Peter.
The four fathers who were given several sacks of cash from Elevation Partners to turn the company around have gone their separate ways. Peter, who had an ostrich egg on his work desk as his inspiration for designing the Palm Pre, is the last to go. These are just the designers too, several executives left Palm after the were purchased by HP, but let’s not talk about them since executives rarely do anything important.
Let’s talk about John Rubinstein, the guy who played a huge role with the inception of the iMac and iPod, who now has to rebuild a team from scratch to get Palm to where it wants to be in 3 to 5 years. Can he do it? He found the best of the best, and they didn’t stay. Who is left? Who actually wants to help Palm become the brand that they used to be when they dominated the PDA space?
My head hurts trying to think of anyone willing to go on such a suicide mission.