Palm CFO Bails Ahead Of New Platform Launch (PALM)


Weird timing: Just as Palm (PALM) is set to launch what’s supposed to be the future of the company — a secret smartphone platform — its CFO is leaving. Andy Brown will leave Palm in January, to be replaced by eBay (EBAY) accounting exec Douglas Jeffries.

In a note today, Citi analyst Jim Suva writes that the change doesn’t signal any accounting concerns — Brown will sign off on Palm’s 10-Q. And Suva notes that the CFO change was not related to Palm’s recent surprising flop — announcing November quarter sales missed consensus by 40%. (As it shouldn’t be. Palm’s problems are overwhelmingly product related.)

But like Suva, we’re surprised by the timing. If Nova, the new smartphone platform, is really the future of the company, it seems a strange time to leave.

Meanwhile, in the same vein as Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), Palm is releasing an App Store for its Palm OS and Windows Mobile-based smartphones. Smart move — installing apps on Palm smartphones used to be a pain.

The App Store will make life easier for Palm owners, but it won’t make up for the fact that most Palm apps are outdated. And it won’t help Treo or Centro sales this Christmas. But it suggests that Nova will have an App Store built in, which is crucial.

See Also:
Palm’s New Smartphone Platform Coming Jan. 8
Frustrated Palm Investor Trolls BlackBerry’s Facebook Page
Palm: Fall Sales Horrible, Slashing Costs