Palm CEO Bummed Out But Confident

It hasn’t been an easy nine months for Palm. Its much-hyped comeback last spring started going downhill last summer when sales of the Pre on the Sprint network failed to impress, by most standards. Then, the Pre and its cousin, the Palm Pixi, also failed to catch on when they were made available through Verizon Wireless.

Palm’s stock price dropped below $4, and was at $4.65 after the closing bell on Thursday. But despite the financial low points and rumors that the company will have to be acquired to survive – or might simply run out of money and go bankrupt – CEO Jon Rubenstein tells Fortune that he believes his company’s product quality will eventually win out.

But in the interview, Rubenstein admits he is “bummed out … by things like [the Pre] not taking off at Verizon.” When asked if he regrets doing an exclusive deal with Sprint last year, he says “…if I sit today and I kind of roll back the clock and go, OK, now if I could have launched in October with Verizon, and done a shorter exclusive with Sprint, and the world would be completely different today, yeah, I mean, that’s easy to say. But you don’t know these things at the time. And Sprint has been a really good partner for Palm.”

Although the company has “hit a speed bump,” Rubenstein touts the quality of his team and mobile operating system, which he calls “the best [one] out there … the easiest to use.” He also says Palm has nearly $600 million in the bank and a good game plan for the months ahead.

“When I read that we’re going out of business or our stock is worth zero or those kinds of things,” Rubenstein told Fortune, “it defies logic to me.”

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