Palm's SVP of software and services takes off, others given cash, stock to stick around (updated)

No one really knows exactly what's going on inside the walls of Palm HQ this week -- whether the company will sink or swim is perhaps a bigger question right now than it has been since its rebirth last year, and if it does swim, whether it remains independent is another matter altogether. In an SEC filing today, Palm quietly revealed that its senior VP of software and services -- Michael Abbott (pictured above), a man who has been largely responsible for webOS as a platform and the critical Mojo and Ares SDKs -- will be gone as of April 23. More interestingly, though, it had to hook up a couple other key players with stock packages and $250,000 in cold, hard cash to get them to agree to stick around for a couple years: Jeff Devine, SVP of global operations, and Doug Jeffries, the CFO. Yes, that's right -- Palm's chief financial officer may have damn near split in the past few days, which is never a good sign for a company whose financial stability is in question. More on this situation as it develops.

[Thanks, Herman]

Update: Since our original report, a number of SEC Form 4s have crossed the wire, indicating that Palm is handing out various quantities of shares to pretty much everyone on the executive roster. Acquisitions frequently involve retention deals for key company players to make sure that the buyer's new assets aren't instantly brain-drained, so it's entirely possible that this is all a harbinger of an impending deal.