Palm's Masked Investor (12/11/01)

Christmas came early this year for diehard Apple PDA conspiracy theorists. The iPod has the more creative rumormongers drooling, because it demonstrates that Apple isn't averse to cranking out handheld electronic consumer devices. There's also the little fact that the iPod packs a couple of ARM processors (like those used in the long-lamented Newton) and runs an embedded operating system made by Pixo, a company founded by an Apple alum who used to be a "key member of the Newton development team." That's rumorological gold, baby, and it's all good fodder for desperate people still waiting for an "iPad."

Apart from the whole iPod thing, though, there's still more grist for the Apple PDA rumor mill; faithful viewer resteves informs us that the anachronistically-titled Cube-Zone is going "hmmmmmm" over that $50 million windfall that Palm announced a few days ago. For those of you who missed it, last Friday Palm stated that it had recently issued a convertible note worth fifty big ones to "an investor it did not identify." Mysterious faceless investors dishing up bailout money for the stumbling PDA market leader? It's almost too good to be true.

The Cube-Zone, naturally enough, considers the possibility that Palm's Mystery Bailout Buddy might be none other than Apple itself. The idea here is that the two companies have been collaborating on some sort of Apple-branded, Palm OS-based handheld device, and so Apple wants to keep Palm from spiralling into bankruptcy. However, it obviously can't do so publicly without letting the PDA-shaped cat out of the cat-shaped bag-- hence, the secret investment. It's certainly possible; Apple's got more than enough cash on hand, and there have been numerous references in the past to Apple and Palm working closely on undisclosed projects.

Of course, there's another explanation: Apple might not be involved at all, and the real investor might simply be keeping its identity cloaked out of sheer embarrassment. After all, we imagine that investing in Palm these days might attract some unwanted pointing and giggling on Wall Street; heck, even we here at AtAT still go red-faced when we admit we bought in at $28 a share. We much prefer the former scenario, however. iPad, here we come!

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The above scene was taken from the 12/11/01 episode:

December 11, 2001: Apple gets its day in court to try to put the kibosh on Microsoft's "Free Windows For Schools" settlement proposal. Meanwhile, some people are wondering whether the mystery investor who just gave Palm $50 million likes black turtlenecks and bottled water, and the grandpappy of Mac rumors sites goes AWOL...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3444: In The Courtroom At Last (12/11/01)   The saga continues. Last month, Microsoft proposed that it be allowed to settle a hundred or so private antitrust cases by donating over a billion dollars' worth of "cash, products, and services" to thousands of financially-challenged U.S. schools...

  • 3446: Conservation Of Rumorgy (12/11/01)   For the record, folks, no, we don't know what happened to Mac OS Rumors, although judging by the number of viewers writing in to ask, everybody assumes that everyone in the Apple-centric media business gets together to go bowling every Friday...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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