Struggle in achievement of profitability
II. BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
Jeff Hawkins, a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in BS Electrical Engineering, did a short tenure at Intel before working at GRiD Systems in 1982. While at GRiD, he developed GRiDTask – a high-level programming language which fuelled further the technological advancements in handheld computing, particularly in the area of text entry. In 1986, Hawkins left grid to pursue further studies at Berkeley and due to difficulties he experienced with being a graduate student after a successful career he, later, returned to GRiD Systems as Vice President of Research but not before a pattern classifier program he wrote was patented.
Following Hawkins’s return to GRiD Systems he began working on GRiDPad [the first handheld computing device] which was released in 1989 and primarily marketed to data collection users in transportation areas, warehousing, police, nurses, and census takers.
In his mind [Hawkins’s], the GRiDPad was only a first step towards his revolutionary vision for handheld computing. Due to this conviction, Hawkins developed specifications for a handheld computing device – the aptly named ZOOMER which was short for consumer (the intended market) – but the GRiD executives were against the idea of entering the consumer market. A reason enough for Hawkins to finally leave GRiD in 1992 leading to the foundation of a company named Palm Computing.
Palm computing had an initial commercial failure with the launch of the Zoomer leading Palm back to the drawing board. Palm re-emerged in 1996 with its Palm Pilot – a product which was funded by US Robotics (now called 3Com) by acquiring Palm for $44 million in 1995. Palm Pilot was a success; in fact, it was the most successful product launch in the computing industry beating the sales of VCRs, colour TVs, cell phones and PCs.
By 1998, Hawkins, Dubinsky, and Colligan were already setting the...