Former Apple exec takes the helm at Palm

Palm founder Ed Colligan will leave the company

Just as the newest chapter in the storied history of Palm unfolds, the last remaining company founder is moving on.

On Wednesday, Palm announced that Ed Colligan is stepping down as president and CEO. Jon Rubinstein, perhaps best known for his part in developing the iPod for Apple, will take over as chairman and CEO.

Rubinstein has been with Palm since October 2007, serving as executive chairman.

The change at the helm comes just days after Palm introduced its newest phone, the Pre, based on a completely new operating system. The company, which has struggled over the past couple of years, has staked its livelihood on the new Pre.

After taking some time off, Colligan plans to join Elevation Partners, Palm said. Elevation, a Palm investor, counts the singer Bono as well as the former chief financial officer of Apple among its investment team.

Colligan founded Palm along with two colleagues in the mid-1990s, essentially creating the personal digital assistant market with the PalmPilot.

When Palm was later bought by 3M, Colligan left to help start up Handspring, which licensed the Palm OS.

While Palm had some recent success with its low-cost Centro phone, it has had a hard time selling enough phones to make up for the dramatically shrinking demand for PDAs.

Palm has spent years developing the new WebOS operating system that runs the Pre. The phone now faces stiff competition from the iPhone.

Rubinstein's decision to join Palm in 2007 came with fanfare, as Palm supporters hoped he might bring some of Apple's famous design flare to Palm.

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Nancy Gohring

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