Mobile

Palm lands former Nokia Meego chief Ari Jaaksi, plus Samsung, HP talent

For once Palm is gaining talent since its acquisition by Hewlett-Packard, instead of losing it.

Ari Jaaksi, former head of Nokia’s next-generation Meego platform, is headed to the company, AllThingsD reports. He’ll be joined by new hires from Samsung and within HP.

We have confirmed with Palm that Jaaksi has joined up as senior vice president of WebOS, the company’s mobile operating system. He’s relocating to the Bay Area, starting at the company in November, and will lead the WebOS engineering team.

His hire is a rare bit of good news for Palm, which has been losing high-profile employees for the past several months. Most recently, Palm Pre designer Peter Skillman left the company and eventually moved to Nokia as head of Meego user experience.

In April, Palm lost Michael Abbott, its senior vice president of software and services, to Twitter. He was viewed as a key force behind WebOS’s software-development tools, which were popular with a small but vital set of mobile-app developers. Palm offered stay packages to other key employees to keep them from straying. Shortly after that, HP announced it would buy Palm for $1.2 billion.

WebOS user interface designer Matias Duarte left Palm to work on Android at Google, WebOS notification mastermind Rich Gerringer moved to Apple, and former senior VP of product development Mike Bell went to Intel.

In other news, Palm also gained Victoria Coleman, former head of Samsung’s research and development center in San Jose, Calif. She’ll be spearheading app development for future versions of webOS.

Perhaps as a sign of Palm’s importance, talent from HP will also move into the company: Former SVP of HP consumer applications Steven McArther will lead product marketing for Palm; Enrique Lores, SVP of HP’s Personal Systems Group sales, will oversee Palm sales; and HP SVP of product development Steve Manser will head up product management.

Palm could certainly benefit from the new talent, because it has a lot to prove. New versions of webOS need to compete with quickly evolving competitors like Android and the iPhone OS, and the company desperately needs new devices — its apparent minor refresh with the Palm Pre 2 certainly isn’t enough to remain competitive.

Photo via UMPCPortal

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  1. [...] That is tough for HP. I remember blogging and commenting on H-P acquiring WebOS and Ari Jaaksi to become Senior Vice President for WebOS. Ari used to work in the Nokia Meego project previously and his blog can [...]