Palm Whips McNamee, Retracts Investor’s Statements

Last week, we reported on – and were amused by – the quotes from big Palm investor Roger McNamee, who made some pretty bold claims about the upcoming Palm Pre and its main competitor, the iPhone. Even though McNamee is not an employee of Palm, the company did issue an unusual retraction today.

The retraction was issued at the Security and Exchange Commission in the United States, which is a rather unusual method of issuing such statements. The filing containts ten itemised clarifications and corrections, effectively retracting everything Roger McNamee has said.

The items on the list refer to the original article on Bloomberg. Looking at the list, these are the few that were really interesting:

5. With respect to the statements in the tenth paragraph of the transcript that the Palm Pre is “going to be a million times – well, not a million times – several times faster” than Apple, Inc.’s iPhone products and is “going to run rings around them on the web,” the Palm Pre is still under development and it is premature to state the speed at which the device accesses the web or the relative speed of the Palm Pre compared to the smartphone products of competitors.

6. With respect to the statements in the twelfth paragraph of the transcript that “there are aspects of the Pre that are unlike any phone you’ve every seen before,” “the Pre is the first one that is the next generation” and “the result is it does a lot of things the others guys don’t do,” the Palm Pre is designed to be the first phone based on the Palm webOS platform and as a result will have different operating characteristics and features than other phones, however; the Palm Pre is still under development and it is premature to compare its full functionality with that of other phones.

8. The statement in the second paragraph of the article that “not one” person who bought an Apple, Inc. iPhone on the first shipment date “will still be using an iPhone a month” after the two-year anniversary of that day is an exaggerated prediction of consumer behavior pattern and is withdrawn.

9. With respect to the statements in the second to last paragraph of the article that “the underlying technology for Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry is about 13 years old, while the technology behind the iPhone goes back almost nine years,” estimating one specific age for the many technology components underlying any mobile phone is inherently imprecise and these statements are withdrawn.

10. With respect to the implications in the second to last and last paragraphs of the article that Palm’s new operating system will give it an edge over competitors that “are going to run out of gas way before” Palm, estimations of the relative useful lifespan of smartphone operating systems are conjecture, unverifiable at this time, and age is not necessarily predictive of their relative long-term success.

It is quite clear that Palm is not amused by McNamee’s statements, most probably because Palm doesn’t want too much hype about the Pre. Palm has been relatively tight-lipped about the device, and McNamee’s statements didn’t really fit into the picture.

Key investor or not, McNamee has just been whipped.


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