Palm Realizes It's Not Apple; Closes Retail Shops

from the so-much-for-that-plan dept

Over the last decade, plenty of technology hardware companies thought it would make sense to open their own retail shops. Sony, Gateway, Palm and Apple all went down that path. Of that list, only Apple has been able to turn those retail stores into something valuable. Gateway was the first, but its retail effort failed miserably. Sony's retail effort was always based more on the idea that the stores are not there to sell products, but just to display them. Sony has always admitted that the stores were more about brand and product awareness than sales -- but that's partly because it doesn't want to piss off its channel, so it prices everything quite high in its own stores. Apple doesn't have that problem, as it has total control over its distribution channel and retail pricing. Of course, the difference here is that Apple's stores and products are designed so people actually want them.

And then there's Palm. Palm used to always be compared to Apple, back in the day. But, that was back in the day when Apple was a struggling computer company. Since Steve Jobs reinvented Apple as being cool again, those comparisons sort of disappeared. Its own retail strategy was clearly an attempt to copy Apple, but without the cool products (or the cool store design) it never did anything useful for the company. About the only surprise coming out of Palm's decision to shut down its retail stores is that it took this long to decide to pull the plug.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
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    Sceptical Cynic (profile), Jan 25th, 2008 @ 11:29am

    Palm is just waiting for the funeral.

    I use to love Palm, but lately all they seem to want to do is just rehash older stuff. There really hasn't been anything cool about Palm products in 4 or 5 years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 11:34am

    Fads end

    Give Apple a couple of years...

     

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    Ed Broth, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 11:42am

    Google should have bought and re-branded them Google Stores.

    They could sell Search Results, perform in-person Captchas, gPhones, convert pictures to YouTube videos, even make music videos for the tonedeaf aspiring musicians... The possibilities are endless!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    It's Jeff and Ed's fault

    Hawkins and Colligan's egos destroyed Palm. The had a winner when they first announced the Treo and then admired it like a trophy bride while their competitors ran past them.

     

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    Overcast, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 12:03pm

    Uhhh, but Apple's not cool...

    Perhaps some people think they are - but I find they sell over hyped, over priced products that are very limiting.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      But that's exactly what some people think cool is... Being a fashion sheep. Never mind the cost, just got to have it.

      Gimmy ma' apple!

       

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      Joe Cool, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 12:37pm

      Re:

      Overcast, regardless of what you may think, Apple's market appeal is that it IS cool and hip. I am not personally a fan of apple, but that is the appeal and it is coll to many, many consumers.

       

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    Jenna, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 12:04pm

    Vinyl Records, 8 tracks, Betamax...

    Uh, what's a Palm?

     

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    CJ, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 12:07pm

    "Give Apple a couple of years..."

    You kidding? Apple's retail stores are wildly profitable. Everyone's been predicting the doom of Apple for many years now. You're no different.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 12:30pm

      Re:

      CJ,
      The only thing that has kept Apple in business is, first, the lawsuit against Microsoft that resulted in Microsoft making Mac Office. The second is the ipod. Without those they are sunk.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 1:47pm

        Re: Re:

        And, as you know, both the iPod and Mac Office are on their way out. Nobody buys iPods anymore.

         

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        wasabifan, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re:

        Okay...the agreement for Microsoft to make MS Office for Mac has expired.

        Also, saying Apple without the iPod is nothing is sorta like saying Nintendo without the DS is nothing. Saying it doesn't make it true, and taking a chunk away from a company and re-evaluating them is meaningless.

        Apple makes good products and sells them at a premium. By doing so, they avoid the low-ball wars going on by so many other companies driving all profits out of their business. You may not like their business...but financially they are hardly sunk.

         

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    9u, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 1:54pm

    I think we need to give palm credit for milking a product for all it's worth. With a little money spent on some development, I think they'd still be viable. Unfortunately, the palm desktop is still pretty much the same internally from the days of when it was a USRobotics product. It's got a hard time when you try to force it to work on any recent windows OS with things like roaming profiles, permissions less than that of administrator, etc.

     

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    ZeTron57, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 2:52pm

    Apple

    Well since the iPod has caused Apple's stock to soar, I guess they don’t need to worry about excessive spending.

    An Apple store is coming into Santa Barbara next month. The store will be on our main street. For a 15,000 square foot space, Apple will be paying $68,000, a month!!

    Sure, this store will be packed the first few months, but the traffic flow will drop and level off. I do not need them selling 68,000 a month in product, even without factoring in all the other monthly costs (staff, electric, ect.).

    It's just a huge (diabolically clever) Advertisement. Apple’s approach is the same as Sony’s. People who bought a Palm could do so online. People who buy Apples product can do so online too, but it's all about getting the foot traffic and hands on experience. This is no different than Sony.

     

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    ZeTron57, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 2:53pm

    Correction "I do not SEE them selling $68K a month"

     

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    ZeTron57, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 2:53pm

    Correction "I do not SEE them selling $68K a month"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 4:33pm

    Apple

    Apple still has allot of pull in the graphic design market... Remember those games you all play on your xbox and ps3.. thanks to apple thats possible!

     

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    SimonTek (profile), Jan 26th, 2008 @ 12:34am

    Ford

    Um without the Model T, Ford would have sunk, without the Taurus. it would have sunk too. Granted its not doing well now, but its they have been around for almost a 100 years. Almost all companies, Without Product X, they would have sunk. Bad argument.

     

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    harknell, Jan 26th, 2008 @ 3:50am

    Hysterical

    It's funny, I walked past a Palm store recently (on Christams Eve actually) and absolutely no one was in the store. I actually did a double take since a Palm store seemed like such an illogical thing, I thought I had misread the sign. Who at that company thought this was a good idea?
    Hmmm, stale product from 5 years ago, no real eye catching design, absolutely no user base loyalty (since they destroyed it with their lack of updates and support)....Yeah, that'll add up to a successful retail strategy!

     

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