Rumor Mill: Palm Pre designer exits HP

Hewlett-Packard appears to continue to lose former Palm executives. According to the blogs TechCrunch and Engadget, Peter Skillman, who oversaw the design of the original Palm Pre, left HP.

An HP spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Skillman's departure is the latest in a string of former Palm executives who have left the fold since HP announced it would acquire Palm in April for $1.2 billion. Skillman was profiled by Forbes just before the Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) launched the Pre in June 2009, and said at the time that his team "wanted to build something really soft and precious yet robust that would be very different from the hard, pragmatic products in the market."

The Pre was never the success Palm or Sprint hoped it would be, though Palm subsequently managed to get the webOS gadgets out to Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), as well as international carriers.

Skillman's departure follows those of Michael Abbott, Palm's senior vice president of software and services; Matias Duarte, senior director of human interface and user experience; Mike Bell, senior vice president of product development; and Lynn Fox, Palm's senior vice president of public relations, among others. Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein has been integrated into HP's business structure, and is still with the company.

The latest exit also comes on the heels of the ouster of HP CEO Mark Hurd, who resigned after company's board found that he had falsified expense reports. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison blasted HP's board over the decision. "The HP board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago," Ellison wrote in an email to the New York Times. "That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn't come back and saved them."

For more:
- see this VentureBeat post
- see this TechCrunch post
- see this Engadget post
- see this NYT article

Related Articles:
HP CEO Mark Hurd resigns as Palm integrations loom
Analysts: HP sticking with smartphones
Palm loses another key webOS veteran
HP's $1.2B purchase of Palm may be a win for the enterprise
HP snatches up Palm for $1.2B