Former Palm CEO Rubinstein out at HP

“Former Palm CEO and principal architect of the WebOS platform Jon Rubinstein has left Hewlett-Packard, effective today,” Roger Cheng reports for CNET.

“Rubinstein is leaving after completing a commitment to stay with HP for 12 to 24 months. All Things D first reported on the departure, and said Rubinstein has no immediate plans,” Cheng reports. “‘Jon has fulfilled his commitment to HP,’ an HP spokesman told CNET. ‘We wish him well.'”

Cheng reports, “Rubinstein’s departure marks the end of an unspectacular run in which he twice attempted, and failed, to turn WebOS into a major mobile platform. In a span of just two years, WebOS had gone from potential iPhone-killer to a dumped open-source project.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, an unspectacular Ruby could never outshine a once-in-a-lifetime diamond.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “62Sparkplug” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
More blood on Apple iPhone’s and iPad’s touchscreens: HP discontinues webOS phones, tablets – August 18, 2011
HP bumps Rubinstein from webOS lead after TouchPad launch failure – July 11, 2011
Rubinstein addresses poor HP TouchPad reviews, compares webOS to Apple’s early Mac OS X – July 5, 2011
Beleaguered Palm’s Rubinstein learning he’s no Steve Jobs – September 11, 2009
Why did Jon Rubinstein exit Apple and why is he now leading Palm? – June 4, 2009
Palm withdraws McNamee claims for Pre – March 10, 2009
Palm backer McNamee: Pre will take all iPhone users as AT&T contracts begin to expire in June – March 05, 2009
Apple’s multi-touch patent a death sentence for Palm? Is Palm’s Pre powered by revenge? – January 28, 2009
Apple vs. Palm (Is “Pre” short for prevarication?) – January 28, 2009
Apple COO Tim Cook puts Palm, others on notice: ‘We will not stand for having our IP ripped off’ – January 21, 2009
Palm Pre: The Emperor’s New Phone – January 12, 2009
Palm shareholders agree to partial takeover, ex-Apple execs Rubinstein, Anderson involved – September 12, 2007
Former Apple execs Rubinstein and Anderson join Palm’s board – June 04, 2007
Why did Jon Rubinstein exit Apple and why is he now leading Palm? – June 4, 2009
Former Apple execs Rubinstein and Anderson join Palm’s board – June 04, 2007
Palm CEO laughs off Apple ‘iPhone’ threat – November 20, 2006
Apple retains ex-iPod VP Rubinstein as consultant – April 23, 2006
Tim Cook named COO of Apple, Jon Rubinstein to retire March 31 and be succeeded by Tony Fadell – October 14, 2005


  1. “Obviously, an unspectacular Ruby could never outshine a once-in-a-lifetime diamond.”

    It could have been. WebOS was developed, from scratch, in just over two years. If the funding had existed to continue focused development for another two years, at minimum WebOS would give Google, and MSFT, a serious challenge for licensees.

    Unfortunately, Palm was purchased by a Company I thought could do something good with it. I was wrong. HP is a Company in disarray. Palm is being damaged by that more than the quality of its OS.

    1. “Obviously, an unspectacular Ruby could never outshine a once-in-a-lifetime diamond.”

      MDN are referring to Rubinstein and Steve Jobs, not webOS and iOS (although, I disagree with you, the Take still works for the OSes, too).

    2. From a Palm perspective, WebOS was successful. It made $1.2bn in profits.

      From a market perspective, it was a failure, but I tie most of that to HP than anything else.

  2. Rubinstein did well, but HP didn’t have the balls to develop the WebOS, make an App store, spend some cash and SELL the damn thing.
    Still, now they have Meg (ebay) Whitman, another fuckwit of colossal proportions.

    NOW do you see how good Steve Jobs was?

    1. Rubi was screwed over by Apotheker (anyone remember him? Didn’t think so.), not so much by Whitman.

      Whitman inherited the HP attempt, failure, and withdraw from the table market. She was not involved in an executive capacity (although she was on the board of directors).

      1. Apotheker gave Rubinstein everything to complete WebOS strategic vision, including ridiculous marketing budget and personally voiced (by Apotheker) public commitment to sell WebOS with every HP device in 2012.

        This was only couple of months before WebOS tablet release to market.

        But once media tested the tablet found it to be gross failure in software, as well as unimpressive in hardware, and sales just did not come, Apotheker saw immediate losses that HP was taking from this project. He was right to kill it immediately.

        Apotheker basically sacrificed himself with this decision that saved HP from billions of losses.

  3. recently each of Apple’s senior VPs were awarded 150,000 shares (spread over the next few years) which is valued at over 60 million…

    Jon you should have stayed at Apple.

    1. Jon was passed over. Look at the timeline shown in the related articles:

      Passed over
      Grew pissed off
      Tried and failed at revenge
      Tried and failed at revenge again
      “Retired” again


  4. Agreed.

    And WebOS is actually a great platform. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t put the rest of the pieces together. HP was never a good fit, and I knew when they were bought by them that it was already over.

  5. Wasn’t Rubinstein coaxed out of retirement by that “Elevation Partners” guy, whatsisname? (just googled him: Roger McNamee)

    If I remember well, he was relaxing in Baja, Mexico, aimlessly, when the guy roped him into misguidedly challenging the iPhone (as good as WebOS may have been).

    Perhaps he should really return right back to Baja and just try to forget the last 4 years (if he can).

    1. Yeah, and after that, Tim could stop over and take a piss on Steve’s grave, too.

      Ruby burned his bridge to the ground. There will never be a place at Apple for him. He couldn’t even get the lowest job in Apple Retail.

  6. WebOS was a remarkable achievement. It was a very good version 1 product. Unfortunately, it ended up ion the wrong hands every time it was deployed.

    First mistake: going to bed with Sprint when the rollout occurred. Never gained traction after that. Too bad. Life goes on.

    1. I still think that dropping WebOS was instigated by MS. It is a real threat to windows. I tried it and found it pretty good. I just cannot make things fit without a large infusion of M$ money.

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