MyPalm wireless Web portal users will lose their address and date book functionality Jan. 10 when Palm Inc. discontinues its personal information management service. Palm had believed PIM would be a popular revenue-producing service, but it turned out to be a financial disappointment, says a Palm spokeswoman. "Web PIM seemed like something people would all want in the craze of the Internet age," she adds, "but in the end it wasn't."
The end will come about a year after Palm first introduced the MyPalm Web portal, which let customers store notes, contacts, and other data, and provided customers with a palm.com E-mail address. In a notice posted on the MyPalm portal Web page, customers were advised to forward archived E-mails to another account and to download all PIM data to their computers before Jan. 10. However, users of the Palm.net wireless service, which is only available on the Palm VII and VIIx personal digital assistants, will still be able to access their Palm.net E-mail accounts via the MyPalm portal.
Palm acquired the PIM service last year when it bought online calendar company, Anyday.com for $80 million. Since then Palm has written down $47.7 million in related charges.
Wireless PIM was really overrated from the beginning, says Ken Smiley, a senior analyst with Giga Information Group. The service wasn't universal and it was difficult to use, he adds. "Palm had their work cut out for them to garner some revenue stream from this service," Smiley says.
Palm is not the only company to mistakenly bank on portals to generate revenue, says Summits Strategies analyst Jennifer DiMarzio. "A lot of consumer portals have struggled. Companies can't look to them as a revenue generator," she says. "Consumer portals are more successful as a marketing tool to alert users to other services."