Our Smartphone Stores.  Buy Accessories For Your... Blackberry Android Moto Q iPhone Centro Treo

ACCESS buys PalmSource. Who!?

Considering that the (pretty exciting) rumour barely a week ago was that Palm (the hardware company) might acquire PalmSource (the software company) it came a bit of a surprise (more like a shock) to learn today that a (pretty unknown) Japanese company called ACCESS had stepped in to buy PalmSource instead.  This is not exactly the White Knight that some may have been hoping for to ‘rescue’ PalmSource but there may nonetheless be some very positive points.

For starters, ACCESS has acquired PalmSource for $324 million in cash –$18.50 per share or an 83% premium over the $10.09 closing price yesterday – so the company evidently has the financial resources to invest in the continued development of the PalmOS.

Business Week reports that “Tokyo-based ACCESS markets the NetFront Internet browser, widely recognized as one of the most advanced Internet browsers, and provides Internet technologies to mobile and other markets.  NetFront technologies are being used in next-generation mobile devices and consumer electronics products, including digital TV’s and Net-linking functions in cars called telematics”. 

The list of ACCESS’ major customers, alliance and cooperative partners is indeed impressive.  The fact that it offers solutions for all the major mobile operating systems – PalmOS, Symbian and PocketPC/Windows Mobile – is undoubtedly a big plus and one that will be enhanced by PalmSource’s ongoing Linux efforts.  Additionally ACCESS is already working with many of the world’s largest handset manufacturers – Nokia, Motorola, Panasonic and Sony Ericsson among others. 

The even more interesting fact is to see how ACCESS has been active in the consumer electronics field as well – an industry that is in dire need of a robust and versatile operating system to power all of their devices in an increasingly digital converged world and complement their already excellent hardware design and manufacturing capabilities. 

As I have mentioned in the past, I believe that the potential of using the PalmOS in this area has been almost completely overlooked and the proven business relationships that ACCESS has established with leading Japanese consumer electronics companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Nintendo and Sharp could clearly be leveraged.  PalmSource for its part will bring the two other Asian mobile and consumer electronics juggernauts to the table with licensees Samsung and LG Electronics.

However, developing and selling an advanced browser which ACCESS has been doing to date is considerably easier than managing the development of an operating system and a community of over 400,000 application developers.  On the other hand, PalmSource itself had been making increasingly dismal moves in both these areas with very slow progress on its new OS and providing an almost complete lack of leadership, vision and strategy to its developer community which has grown increasingly frustrated and disappointed with the company.  One could therefore argue that any change will be positive and provide the opportunity for everyone to move forward with a fresh start.

Palm for its part has been publicly positive about ACCESS’ acquisition.  In a press release, Ed Colligan, Palm, Inc. president and chief executive officer said, "Palm's award-winning user experience and application expertise, combined with ACCESS' leading software development capabilities, will allow us to continue to deliver great products for our customers. ACCESS is currently a software technology partner and we look forward to continuing our strong working relationship to advance the Palm OSR platform." 

Evidently Palm doesn’t think that owning the OS is critical otherwise it would have acquired PalmSource itself.  As Palm has mentioned in the past, it has already brought the most significant software development in-house – particularly that of our Treo.  Nevertheless, from a cultural and emotional perspective it must nonetheless be difficult for Palm to now see PalmSource acquired by a third party.

I remain extremely excited about the PalmOS and the future opportunities that it offers and I truly hope that ACCESS will be able to fully exploit these – we’ll have to wait and see what happens in the coming months.

ACCESS to Extend Leadership in Mobile Device Software with Acquisition of PalmSource [PalmSource Press Release]
Japan’s ACCESS acquires PalmSource [BusinessWeek]
Palm and PalmSource...Together Again? [PCWorld]

Treonauts will always support the PalmOS

Posted by Andrew on September 9, 2005 at 09:22 AM

Treo Opinion

| Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ACCESS buys PalmSource. Who!?:


by Rainer | Sep 9, 2005 10:35:10 AM

The future Treos will be with Windows OS.

by Cripple | Sep 9, 2005 11:58:24 AM

What a naive comment, Rainer. So ACCESS is a company that just throws money away?
Can't say I'm too thrilled about the news. Don't know if its a good thing or a bad thing. Will just have to wait and see...

by A. Davis | Sep 9, 2005 12:31:34 PM

I agree... I don't know if this is good or not. The conspiracy theory side of me thinks "hmmm, its down to MS, Symbian, and Palm. MS is known for buying companies just to make them go away (acquire their strengths, but stop selling their product). Could this be an in-direct purchase? In other words, could this be funded by MS to make Palm go away? We know that MS indirectly funded SCO via BayStar to pursue the whole Linux IP thing...".

Ironically, I had just posted a little note about Palm's sad marketing... though it was posted before I saw this news. http://mobileoptimized.com/Blog.html#advertising

Hmmm... I guess a "wait and see" attitude will have to be the only choice...

by joe | Sep 9, 2005 2:17:33 PM

Mentioning Samsung as a "licensee" PalmSource brings to the table is funny. It is well known that Samsung has given up on the PalmOS -- they never even made or released a Garnet Smartphone. And they have not even been attempting to release or develop anything for Palm OS in years. I don't think PalmSource brings Samsung anywhere.

by A. Davis | Sep 9, 2005 3:11:30 PM

Joe - Funny, I thought the same thing and almost said something, but I didn't have the time to dig through the news and google to confirm. I thought I had remembered the Samsung bailed on Palm devices when Sprint decided to no longer carry their Palm phone in favor of the 600/650, but I couldn't be sure...

by Nick Danger | Sep 9, 2005 3:24:56 PM

The fact that Access acquired PalmSource suggests that Access thinks the Palm OS is worth the investment. This should be good news to Palm users.

The notion that Palm will jump to the Pocket PC/Windows CE/Whatever-new-moniker-Gates-thinks up-for-next-year's-crappy-OS just because Palm got out-bid is silly. For one thing, Windows Mobile basically sucks. Why would Palm, enjoying robust Treo sales and flush with repeated, and continuing, top rankings in every mag that reviews smart phones, switch to a craptastic OS like Windows Mobile? It's like saying Apple will switch to Windows just because Apples are going to start running Intel processors.

Besides, who knows what Palm's contract with PalmSource says, how long its term is, etc.? There's just no way to predict the outcome of this without knowing more about the Palm-PalmSource contract.

Personally I suspect that Palm already has a permanent Garnet license with the ability to modify it as it sees fit. If so, the ACCESS purchase probably says nothing about Palm's continuing use of the Palm OS, and instead signals that another player is going to try to market Palm OS devices, as Sony and Handspring once did. As we all know, both Sony and Handspring forced innovation on Palm that ultimately allowed it to compete with Microcrap. Accordingly, the ACCESS purchase is probably going to be good for Palm users (and Treo fans).

by Frank Lyonnet | Sep 11, 2005 7:58:55 AM

The Japan domestic market is big enough to motivate the Palm Source acquisistion, even at this price. This is a bad news for Microsoft that will have a hard time to impose Windows Mobile in smartphone there.
This is also probably a bad news for Treo users: the risk is high this company will fail marketing PalmOS outside Asia (remember Sharp Zaurus ?).


by Cripple | Sep 12, 2005 1:31:57 AM

To those who haven't heard of ACCESS until now. Look at the Credits in the About of your Blazer Web Browser. :)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Footer graphic
©2006 Treonauts.com | Subscribe to the Treonauts Blog RSS Feed


Treo Blog
Treo Forum
Treo Accessories Store
Treo Software Store


iPhone Blog
iPhone Accessories Guide
iPhone Accessories Store
iPhone Software Store


Centro Forum
Centro Accessories Guide
Centro Accessories Store
Centro Software Store