Shares of Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) plunged on Thursday after the company lowered its guidance on slower than expected consumer adoption.
In a day when rival Motorola (NYSE:MOT) closed up 0.88 percent and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed up 0.67 percent, shares of Palm dropped a staggering 19.28 percent.
On Friday, Palm was downgraded by UBS to sell. It shares plunged another 2.62 percent at 12:11 pm EST.
Friday and Thursday, however, were not the only disappointing days for the stock. Throughout its history, Palm has disappointed investors.
Shares of Palm debuted on the NASDAQ at the price of $38 per share in March 2000, at the height of the dotcom bubble.
Its shares subsequently fell with the stock market crash and never recovered afterwards. It is currently trading at $6.53. In a decade, the stock returned a negative 83 percent.
To say that consumption adoption was slower than expected is an understatement. In fact, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) never moved beyond the early adopters stage as the masses shunned the awkward device.
Of course, one cannot place the blame solely on the company; market forces were against Palm and the company never had a chance.
In many ways, the story of Palm is similar to that of TiVo.
TiVo was truly a great, innovative, and useful product. However, its inventors failed to anticipate the Internet boom, which catapulted the computer to the position of being the main source of electronic entertainment.
Like the way TV displaced the radio years ago, computers now displaced the TV.
In addition, cable companies essentially started to provide the same services as TiVo. This forward integration severely diminished TiVo's usefulness.
Palm, which is not as innovative as TiVo to begin with, face an even gloomier competitive landscape.
From the beginning, PDAs were sandwiched between laptops and cell phones. It was too bulky to be convenient and too limited to handle serious computing needs.
What made matters worse was that smartphones were becoming more sophisticated while netbooks were becoming smaller. Whatever usefulness PDAs had, it was being eroded from both sides.
Perhaps Apple's iPad will be the proverbial nail in the coffin; the iPad is a superior product that may essentially come to occupy the same niche as the Palm.
And the manage and employees of Palm simply cannot compete with those of Research In Motion and Apple.
Steve Jobs is a peerless genius in his field and the Blackberry is a truly innovative product that changed the world.
With top-notch competitors and a dwindling market for its current and future products, the prospects of Palm look bleak.