Pre designer Peter Skillman leaves Palm

In the wake of HP CEO Mark Hurd's unexpected resignation, the company has been hit with another high-profile departure. TechCrunch has confirmed that Pre designer and 11-year Palm veteran Peter Skillman has left the building. The motives behind Skillman's departure aren't mentioned, but he's hardly the first Palm executive to jump ship.

As TechCrunch notes, Skillman is was one of four Palm employees hand-picked by former CEO Jon Rubinstein to head up the Pre team. The others have already fled the coop, one landing at Twitter, another at Google, and the third at Intel. It's unclear where this latest Palm alum might pop up.

HP has already confirmed that it sees opportunities for Palm's webOS in the smartphone space, so we'll likely see a follow-up to the Pre at some point. With the original team now gone, however, the next webOS-based smartphone may bear little resemblance to the original. That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing given the Pre's sluggish sales. HP already has a very slick operating system in webOS. All it needs is a cutting-edge handset to match.

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