Palm Pre designer quits HP

Palm Pre

Palm Pre designer Peter Skillman is the latest high profile departure to be confirmed by HP, following its takeover of Palm. His reasons for leaving and his next career move have not been disclosed.

Skillman joins a string of departures which have decimated the WebOS and Pre development team. The exodus started in April, about a week before HP went public on its bid.

First to go was Michael Abbott, who was very much the poster boy for WebOS. His responsibilities covered application platform and services development. He is now with Twitter as vice president for engineering.

In May, Matias Duarte, the man responsible for the look and feel of WebOS, quit to joins Google's Android development team.

Then just last month, the former Palm product development vice president, Mike Bell, left to join Intel as director of smartphone product development, where his new team will build reference design mobile devices.

These were the faces of the Palm Pre and WebOS effort, chosen by Palm chief executive (CEO) Jon Rubinstein to appear in a Forbes magazine article hailing the launch of the Pre. Now only Rubenstein remains.

Despite being offered substantial deals to stay, other members of the Palm staff have left and the original team has roughly been halved. With the principal architects gone, it may take HP some time to pick up from where they left off.

At the time of the bid for Palm, Todd Bradley, executive vice president for HP's personal systems group, said: "Palm's innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP's mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices."

HP has had limited success in the mobile space and WebOS was seen as an operating system that would suit its aspirations. It paid $1.2 billion (765 million) for the company but failed to close the gate before the talent escaped.