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Old 05-24-2005, 06:13 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Palm's success tasted too sweet for PalmSource

With yesterday's announcement of David Nagel's departure from PalmSource, eWeek columnist Guy Kewney doesn't have anything left but gloomy words for PalmSource. Quote from the article:

Quote:
I fear that success is now the albatross around PalmSource, and that it can't move forward fast enough to survive—before the investors decide to quit while they're still ahead and pull the plug.

If the new management has a time machine, it can solve the problem. Without one, I hardly know what to say beyond, "I hope your investors are as dumb as you think they are."
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Old 05-25-2005, 04:37 AM   #2
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Good points, but wrong on details

This article makes some good points, but some of his details are wrong

Good points:
1) A lot of PalmSource's problems did indeed start with 3Com. 3Com did hold Palm back at a very critical juncture in its history. And there were apparently several potentially valuable licensees (Toshiba, maybe Dell?) that were turned away because 3Com didn't want manufacturers selling both Palm OS and WinCE PDAs (or some stupid reason like that).

Wrong details:
1) Palm OS Garnet (as opposed to OS 4) can indeed multitask (well, OK, multithread). His example does not happen with all IM clients; switching to another app will not terminate your IM session with a client that takes advantage of the multithreading capabilities in Garnet. If getting a call terminates your IM session on the Treo 650 (I unfortunately don't have one to test), it's more than likely because your IM client is using older APIs or the Treo simply can't hold a GSM voice and GPRS data connection open at the same time (lots of GSM/GPRS phones can't do that).

2) The 3Com/Palm split was long enough ago that PalmSource could have been in a very good position right now; their recent problems cannot be blamed on 3Com. Above all else, there's one thing that has blown it for PalmSource: Cobalt. Writing a kernel from scratch for Garnet was one thing. But writing a completely different new kernel for Cobalt, along with a completely different development environment and set of APIs took a ton of time away from PalmSource. If it had switched straight to using Linux, and attempted to leverage some of the device drivers, APIs, and development tools available for it (which several hardware companies were already evaluating), they could have had a much more advanced OS that hardware companies were actually interested in implementing. Actually, if they'd done that, they would have Palm OS on Linux, which now won't debut until next year, instead of being available last year like it could have been.

3) Regardless of the wrong-headed decisions PalmSource has made of late, they're not going anywhere soon. PalmOne just signed up to give them at least $148 million over the next 4 years, plus another $30 million to use the "Palm" name exclusively. $180 million plus whatever royalties China MobileSoft pulls in should keep PalmSource around for awhile. If not, the leading suitor in a buyout situation? PalmOne (now minus the "One").
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