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Palm to separate OS business

Fri Jul 27, 2001 - 4:51 PM EDT - By Marcus Adolfsson

Palm today announced it will form a wholly owned subsidiary to contain the Platform Solutions Group, separating it more distinctly from the Solutions Group by the end of calendar 2001.

The Platform Solutions Group develops the Palm OS(R) platform and licenses it to makers of handheld computers including HandEra, Handspring, Sony, Symbol and Palm's Solutions Group, and smartphone makers including Kyocera and Samsung.

New licensees announced this year are Acer, which plans to take the OS to Chinese-speaking customers in Asia-Pacific, and Garmin, a leader in global-positioning satellite products. More than 16 million Palm Powered™ handhelds have been shipped, and according to market-research firms, the Palm OS is used in 76 percent to 88 percent of all personal digital assistants.

Under the new structure, the Platform Solutions Group would operate independently but would continue to leverage Palm's infrastructure and staff services.

"We're eager to foster the independence of both of our businesses, and creating a separate subsidiary for our platform activities will allow us to bring greater clarity of mission, better serve licensees and, we believe, increase shareholder value longer term," said Carl Yankowski, Palm chief executive officer.

"This is another important step to strengthen our technology and deliver powerful and elegant solutions for our Palm OS licensees," said Alan Kessler, Palm general manager of the Platform Solutions Group. "We continue to build a large and powerful base of registered developers -- more than 170,000 of them -- with more than 10,000 commercially available applications. This is great news for the Palm Economy."

An Advisory Council of Palm OS licensees also will be formed to consult on the subsidiary's objectives and provide a direct channel for communication with the Platform Group.

"The Palm OS software platform's leading position in the industry for ease of use, developer support and numbers of applications have led it to become the overwhelming choice for handhelds," Nagel said. "The formation of this subsidiary is a further step to ensure continued leadership in this rapidly growing new industry."

This is a great idea and it needed to be done. The Palm OS has seen little change in the past few years, and a subsidiary would have the resources needed to give the platform meaningful updates. It is a sad state of affairs when the Palm licensees have produced more innovation than Palm.

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