Ex-Apple hardware chief named CEO of Palm

Jon Rubinstein, the computer engineer credited with building both the iPod and the Palm Pre, has been named chief executive officer of Palm (PALM).

He replaces Ed Colligan, who led the company for 16 years.

Rubinstein, 52, once one of Steve Jobs’ closest advisors, left Apple (AAPL) in 2006 with stock holdings reportedly worth $26 million. He is said to have clashed with Jobs over the wisdom of building the iPhone.

He was recruited as executive chairman to help turn around Palm, once the leader in hand-held personal digital assistants, after the private equity firm Elevation Partners made a significant investment in the company.

The Pre, which Rubinstein introduced in January to great fanfare, is considered the strongest competitor to the iPhone to date.

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