Former Apple VP Avie Tevanian Joins Fred Anderson at VC Firm

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Former Apple vice president Avadis "Avie" Tevanian has joined Elevation Partners, a venture capital firm cofounded by former Apple CFO Fred Anderson. Among other projects, Elevation Partners is the largest investor in Palm Inc., a firm currently headed by former Apple vice president Jon Rubinstein.

According to the Dow Jones Newswire, Mr. Tevanian will join Elevation as a managing director with responsibilities in evaluating new investment opportunities. He will also advise those companies the company invests in and help develop the firm's overall strategy.

Avie Tevanian
Former Apple VP Avie Tevanian

Something else that Mr. Tevanian has in common with Fred Anderson and Jon Rubinstein is that all three came to Apple from NeXT, the company founded by Steve Jobs after his ouster from Apple in the mid-1980s that was subsequently bought by Apple. It was the NeXTSTEP operating system that became the foundation of Mac OS X, whose development was headed by Mr. Tevanian.

Mr. Tevanian left Apple in 2006, as did Jon Rubinstein. Fred Anderson resigned his position as CFO for Apple in 2004, and joined Apple's board of directors a few days after that resignation went into effect. He resigned from Apple's board in October of 2006 in the wake of an SEC investigation into the way Apple granted a stock award to CEO Steve Jobs.

One last note: Another investor in Elevation Partners is Bono, the only investment team member listed on Elevation's site with just the one name.

Comments

Nemo

Another curiosity:  I hadn’t realized that they, Anderson, Tevanian, and Rubinstein, all left Apple in 2006, within a few months of each other.

Bryan Chaffin

Ex Steve’s Minions of the World Unite!

Bryan Chaffin

Nemo: They did all leave in 2006, but Anderson’s departure was related to the stock scandal. I would have been surprised if he would have left otherwise.

Avie and Jon, though, left earlier in the year, somewhat close together.

geoduck

Elevation Partners is the largest investor in Palm Inc

IMO that’s money they won’t be getting back.
To me Palm has all the hallmarks of 4th place also-ran that will die on the vine over the next couple of years. They announced their big new product last year and as far as I can tell while it generated a lot of attention at the time, it’s faded into quiet obscurity. That was their big salvo. They don’t seem to have a plan B. I’d predict that within 5 years there will be the big 3: Apple, Google, RIM plus other companies like Nokia. Palm will likely be gone, just a historical note that reads “but we invented the PDA”.

rlopin

I respectfully disagree with you. The demise of Palm has been predicted time and time again. They have reinvented themselves this time with an infusion of talent from many top companies including Apple.

The smartphone market is huge and is growing exponentially. Palm does not have to dethrone Apple to succeed. All it has to do is make enough people happy with their devices to turn a profit. Palm is almost where Apple was in comparison to Microsoft many years ago. There is much irony there. Apple fanatics now act the same way towards Palm now as PC fanatics did towards Apple. You can see it on every Apple-based message board.

Palm is already on Sprint, will be on Verizon on 1/25, and AT&T soon thereafter. Palm has the easier to use and more intuitive user interface, true multi-tasking for all apps without ‘jailbreaking’, synergy (combines contacts and calendar from multiple cloud sources), physical keyboard, removable battery, inductive ‘wireless’ charger, support for Flash 10.1 coming in Feb (Apple refuses to support), Google Voice (apple refuses), support for Sling Player Mobile coming due to support of Flash, 3D gaming, an API based on web standards for building productivity apps, an API based on C/C++ for building fast 3D gaming apps (e.g., Need for Speed), a pure online based IDE for building apps using almost any browser (“Ares”), support for SDL standard for porting Linux 3D apps (e.g., Doom, Quake), support for Flash for running the thousands of Flash based apps and Video Streaming sites, over the air OS and Application installations/updates, an Official App Catalog as well as support for unofficial App Catalogs with complete transparency, all available via a public feed and api, supported WiFi tethering on Verizon, supported Bluetooth tethering in Germany (more carriers on their way), amazing HomeBrew community (includes a WiFi tethering app), camera with flash, etc.

There is room in this market for more than one great phone. Don’t count out Palm just yet.

rlopin

You don’t need 100,000 apps to succeed. The top 1000 apps are probably the most common. Most people find 10-15 apps that they absolutely love out of this 1000 that they can’t live without.

Of course, the more apps there are the more likely you are to find a set of 10-15 apps that really helps you/entertains you. No doubt Apple has a big advantage here.

However, it is that long tail of apps (the remaining 99,000) that find it really hard to get noticed. This is known as the discoverability problem. Apple needs to find a way to open up its catalog online.

This is exactly the strategy Palm is taking. They are allowing anyone to create their own Palm App Catalog using a real-time public API being exposed by Palm. This allows folks to create custom catalogs targeted at niche audiences that can be used to help promote their apps. From these catalogs users can even type in their phone numbers and have an SMS message with a link to the app that can be downloaded over the air immedietly.

This will allow the long tail (once Palm has a long tail :- )) to more easily be discovered. Palm has had incredible growth in the number apps released from their launch day seven months ago until now (they went from 30 apps to over 1000 in this timeframe). And that is with only a subset of developers running the catalog in beta. Now it is completely open to the public and the catalog is no longer in beta. It won’t be long before the number of apps reaches that sweet spot where just about anyone can find the set of apps that makes them happy.

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