Number One Priorities

April 29, 2009

I had an important lunch meeting today related to me delivering on my number one priority at work. In fact, my number one priority is our company’s number one priority, and it has caused me to think about other companies and their number one priorities, namely Palm.

Palm’s number one priority right now is clearly to get the Pre into the hands of consumers as fast as they reasonably can. Amid reports from anonymous UPS sources that shipments of the first production run have made it to the US, anticipation for this device in the geeksphere is still quite high. However, I think the homerun Palm appeared to have hit when they introduced the Pre and their new WebOS platform at CES, is looking less convincing because their “bullpen” then didn’t manage to hold the lead and get the thing to market sooner. Clearly Apple has stolen some momentum from the Pre, by all but confirming new iPhone hardware is on the way, and the closer we get to that likely confirmation at their World Wide Developers
Conference (starting June 9th), the more momentum they steal.

Speaking of Apple, what might be their number one priority, especially having
just published their best non holiday season quarterly financial results ever (in a troubling recession, if not the most troubling recession ever) Should they spend more money on their “I’m a Mac”advertising campaign, and shore up their one weak spot from the previous quarter (declining sales of their computers), or should they start selling a low cost Mac netbook? I think Apple should do both of those things, but I think should also be doing everything they can to convince Verizon to give them the same iPhone subsidy deal they now have with AT&T, and obviously forgo extending their exclusivity agreement with AT&T (which has clearly got to be AT&T’s number one priority right now).

Imagine the millions who would flock to Verizon for the iPhone. In fact, it would be a crushing blow to Sprint and therefore Palm, since they appear to be throwing a symbiotic Hail Mary pass together with the Pre. I would guess Verizon, already with the largest number of wireless subscribers would steal AT LEAST 10 million subscribers from the other carriers by offering an iPhone. They would have AT LEAST another 5 million of their current subscribers switch to the iPhone and enter into another 2 year contract accordingly. Apple in nearly 2 years has already sold 17 million iPhones worldwide and I have no doubt they would match that number by Christmas with a Verizon iPhone.

If Apple and Verizon DON’T smell blood, then it’s only because they’re too busy sniffing each other.

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