Palm & PalmOS Reunited At Last
Late last week Palm announced the rather amazing news that it had “signed an agreement with ACCESS Systems Americas, Inc. (formerly PalmSource, Inc.) to license the source code for PalmOS Garnet, the version of the PalmOS used in several Treo smartphone models and all Palm handheld computers.”
Under the agreement, Palm will have:
- a perpetual license to use as well as to innovate on the PalmOS Garnet code base and Palm will retain ownership rights in its innovations
- the flexibility to use PalmOS Garnet in whole or in part in any Palm product and together with any other operating system technologies
- secured an expansion of its existing patent license from ACCESS to cover all current and future Palm products – regardless of the underlying operating system
For all of these rights, Palm will pay ACCESS a total of [only] $44 million, which will be paid in Palm's third quarter of fiscal year 2007, and will be recognized as an expense over the next several years. This single payment eliminates the requirement for Palm to pay ACCESS continuing royalties of 10s of millions of dollars over the coming years.
"This agreement gives Palm increased ability to innovate on the PalmOS Garnet base, and to effectively differentiate Palm products long into the future," said Mark Bercow, senior vice president of business development at Palm, Inc. In this respect, Palm plans to ensure that applications now compatible with PalmOS Garnet will operate with little or no modification in future Palm products that employ PalmOS Garnet as the company evolves it over time to support Palm's product differentiation strategy.
Just as it will continue to enhance PalmOS, Palm will continue to support and further innovate on its implementation of Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Edition, which it licenses from Microsoft. By supporting both operating systems, Palm gives its customers – from carriers and enterprises to consumers and small businesses – a choice of operating environment.
There is no doubt that I am absolutely delighted by these news. Palm’s effective ‘purchase’ of the PalmOS which it can now use and modify as it pleases to enhance current and future Treo smartphones is one of the best news on Planet Treonauts this year.
I am particularly pleased not only because I am a devoted PalmOS user but also because I hope that this will now finally stem the flow of reports about the “imminent demise of the PalmOS” as well as the ridiculous previous suggestions that Palm might even drop the PalmOS altogether.
It is now evident that Palm not only continues to firmly believe in the PalmOS (an operating system that every competing smartphone manufacturer envies) but that it also has every intention to continue using and refining it for quite some time to come.
Treonauts always have the strongest bonds…