Former Palm CEO leaves HP

As of last Friday, Jon Rubinstein, former CEO of Palm, no longer works for HP. In an interview with The Verge, Rubinstein said he's taking a long vacation down in Mexico. More importantly, he made it clear that his departure wasn't the result of some corporate drama surrounding the ill-fated Palm acquisition:

This has been in the works for a while - when we got acquired I promised Mark, Shane, and Todd that I would stick around for 12 to 24 months. Just before we launched the TouchPad, I told Todd that it was going to be time for me to move on after the launch. Todd asked me to stick around and help them with the webOS transition, and he didn't know it at the time, but the PSG getting spun out, whatever is going on with that. I really like Todd, so I told him I'd stick around and give him advice and help out.

If you don't know who Rubinstein is, he's the man who spearheaded development of the Palm Pre before becoming Palm's CEO in January 2009. Before joining Palm in 2007, he worked at Apple, where he led development of the iPod. And before that, Rubinstein worked alongside Steve Jobs on NeXT's workstations. Yes, that is quite an impressive résumé.

Rubinstein declined to tell The Verge much about the events leading up to that dark August day, when HP killed webOS devices and put webOS itself in limbo. However, he did address the subject briefly:

We built an amazing OS in webOS. It's very advanced, it's where things are going. But we ran out of runway, and we ended up at HP and HP wasn't in good enough shape on its own to be able to support the effort. I had four CEOs! Mark acquired us, Cathie Lesjak took over as the interim CEO, then Leo, and now Meg.

Whatever happened, I hope Rubinstein gets back on the saddle soon and helps devise more cool things. He certainly seems to have a knack for it.

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