Saturday, April 21, 2007

Palm to compete against own OS: well done, folks!

According to a Register story (Palm distances itself from Windows), Palm, Inc. is dropping Windows Mobile and adopting Linux.

In reality, it is likely that Palm will emulate its former stablemate, Palmsource (formerly the software arm of the company, which was spun off and then acquired by Japan's Access and is now focused on adapting features of the Palm UI for a mobile Linux platform). In other words, it will concentrate for its uniqueness on navigation, widgets, and other critical features of the modern mobile UI
So, allow me to recap some of this sad saga. Execs from a struggling Palm left to create Handspring. It made a hit, the Treo. But Palm owned the OS. Palm bought Handspring, so everything was finally in one hand. Palm could have started to be building the whole widget, just like Apple.

But it wasn't meant to be. Palm spun off its OS to PalmSource, then licensed it back. Then Palm decided to use Windows Mobile. Meanwhile, PalmSource (now part of Access) was moving the Palm OS (now known as Garnet) to Linux. So what does Palm do? Also try to move the same OS to Linux on its own, so it can reduce licensing fees.

Let me guess: when Palm is done with its new OS (and renames itself about three more times, to maybe to PalmTwo, Treo, Inc., and then back to Palm), it will spin off the new OS as well. Or maybe spin off the Treo. Yeah, I think that one is certainly in the cards.

Or, at least, it will sell the Treo name and license it back.

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