Palm Buying Be, Inc.

Palm, Inc. and Be Incorporated have just announced that Palm is going to buy the intellectual property and technology assets of Be. Palm is also trying to hire Be's engineering team. The price is $11 million, to be paid in Palm stock, following approval from Be shareholders.

"The technology and people from Be are highly regarded,'' said Carl Yankowski, Palm chief executive officer. "We look forward to them joining forces with our own outstanding engineers on future versions of the Palm OS. This move will help us expand the PalmOS platform into broader markets using their multimedia media and Internet expertise.''

Recently, Be developed an embedded operating system called the BeIA, for Internet appliances. It found only one customer, Sony, who is using it in their iVilla. The company has officially been looking for a buyer for about a month.

Be's real strength is in their experience with multimedia. With Palm's switch to much more powerful ARM based chips for OS 5, they will be making much more multimedia-capable handhelds and Be's expertise will certainly help the development process..

Be Chief Executive Officer Jean-Louis Gassee will stay on for a while to assist Palm in integrating the two companies. "I look forward to working closely with Palm to integrate Be's technology and talent into the Palm Platform Solutions Group,'' he said. "The Be team moving to Palm is enthusiastic about collaborating on so many subjects of mutual strength and devotion -- superior operating system software, attention to end users and the high value our people place on our developer community.''

He also will provide strategic advice related to the anticipated separation of the Palm Platform business from the Solutions Group.

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It's announced

frauen1 @ 8/16/2001 10:01:57 AM #
RE: It's announced
andrewholler @ 1/17/2003 10:27:53 PM #
This is so interesting! I found this topic quite intriguing. I learn and learn and learn on my own, but man, these articles and responses get my brain going!

Email me about anything at
Current PDA:= Palm M130
by the way, Can someone buy me a TT?

Palm OS 5?

ganoe @ 8/16/2001 10:48:43 AM #
Well, could Be OS in some evolved form be what Palm has in store for Palm OS 5? I was hoping that Palm was working with QNX on it.

RE: Palm OS 5?
ganoe @ 8/16/2001 10:50:51 AM #
I should follow up my own post and say I do think this is a good move for Palm. This gives Palm a great OS with really good multimedia features to work with. This is a great opportunity for the Be folks to get the recognition they deserve as well.

Yay Palm

Coyote67 @ 8/16/2001 12:18:55 PM #
personally, I think this is a great move. BeOS has always been a great and powerful OS back to when it was for PPC only. Very happy to hear about this. Definatly a step in the right direction

OH my god...becky, look at her....Prism.

RE: Yay Palm
wilco @ 8/16/2001 12:44:32 PM #
Cheap too, At 11 million in stock. In comparison, Palm uses 160 million in fiscal 2001 for OS development purposes, and look at what it had to show? And since it's in stock, it will not affect Palm's limited cashflow. BeOS is known for ease-of-use and multimedia capability. Now the challenge is to merge the two platforms and shrink them to fit the Flash memory. Too bad, the free version of BeOS had to go. I like it's interface when I installed it sometime ago...

RE: Yay Palm
mikecane @ 8/16/2001 1:29:53 PM #
$11 million is not a bargain. It is a steal! Anyone know what this has done to Palm's stock?

RE: Yay Palm
mikecane @ 8/16/2001 1:52:06 PM #
As of 1:52PM EDST (20 mins delayed) Palm is a bit above $3, down. Be is twenty five CENTS, down. Yeesh. I guess the market does not expect these new BePalms to impact revenues until 2003 or even 2004.

RE: Yay Palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 12:13:54 PM #
I'm not sure, but i dont think that the BeOS has anything to do with this. As I understand it, Palm is buying out Be because they want them to help integrate new multimedia features into Palm OS 5, not to merge the 2 operating systems. BeOS is dead anyway; if Palm and Be were going to merge OS's, they would probably merge the Palm OS with the BeIA OS. On a side note, I kind of liked BeOS, although it was never really finished. It was just about as easy to install as a standard Windows application.

Be Palm -- my jaw has dropped!!!

mikecane @ 8/16/2001 1:24:22 PM #
Holy mackeral! This is just incredible! In all of my speculations, it never occurred to me that Be and Palm should join up. Now that it's happened, it just seems so bloody natural! I'd expect the Hand of Sony in this too: Sony's eVilla (what a name!) runs BeOS under a custom shell. Be has a take-no-prisoners multimedia OS that just cries to be put on a handheld. Perhaps Palm will be that handheld! Perhaps Palm OS5 will be that OS! How I hope! Now -- if they can just keep Jean-Louis Gassee at arm's length...

RE: Be Palm -- my jaw has dropped!!!
mikecane @ 8/16/2001 1:27:19 PM #
Really, I must add a second comment. This really is on the scale of when Apple bought NeXt. It's that significant. I only hope Palm does not screw it all up. A BePalm OS would really make one hell of a competitor to the multimedia-rich Pocket PC. Bravo to Palm for this move!

Jean-Louis Gassee?
Ed @ 8/16/2001 1:51:04 PM #
Mike, I don't know anything about Jean-Louis Gassee. Is he a potential problem? He is coming on board the same day Alan Kessler is leaving. Would it be bad if he eventually took Kessler's place? They'll probably at least consider him for the job because he's supervised the development of OSs before. Would he be good at it?

News Editor
RE: Be Palm -- my jaw has dropped!!!
mikecane @ 8/16/2001 1:58:20 PM #
Gassee, like all of us fellow Frenchies, can be a popinjay. He is best kept well-fed and given imaginary responsibilities with a fat paycheck (hey, I'd like that too!). This is the fellow who, reminds us, refused a whopping $125M from Apple -- he wanted more. Now he is glad to have a measly $11M. And the rest of us are stuck with that damned OS X instead of BeOS on Macs! (Another reason I will not buy a Mac ever agin...)

RE: Be Palm -- my jaw has dropped!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/19/2001 1:20:33 PM #
I have a copy of BeOS 5.0 pro sitting on my shelf with a copy of GoBe productive right next to it. I thought it was the answer to my prayers when I gave up on Linux. I messed with it for a few weeks but then OS X came out and made it totally moot. I have BSD, Aqua (which puts the look and feel of BeOS, that I once considered so great, to shame.) Classic (though I almost never need it and soon adobe will make it moot with OS X native apps) The full Objective C developers cd with Cocoa and tons of great software being developed every day. Don't get me wrong, I loved Be when I finally got it and if Apple had bought Be instead of NeXT we could have had a form of OS X YEARS ago. But it was worth the wait. I have a Palm III and if Be can make the new Palm OS what it should be then I will buy a new Palm to use it. Anyone want to buy a set of BeOS Pro and GoBe Productive CDs?

Be's side of the story

mikecane @ 8/16/2001 2:03:30 PM #
RE: Be's side of the story
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 5:36:13 PM #
It shows that they eliminated 28 positions on July 31, 2001. Make sure to also check out the Press Release dated April 2, 2001. They eliminated 27 positions at that time. Looked like they were preparing to sell off the company.

An Epitaph for Be

bcombee @ 8/16/2001 2:32:06 PM #
Dave Winer of Userland Software fame has posted a DaveNet article about Be, giving some of its history and a lot of opinion on how it got things right and how it got things wrong. Very good reading to help understand what this purchase means for Palm.

RE: An Epitaph for Be
mikecane @ 8/16/2001 4:46:35 PM #
Before Userland, Dave Winer was of ThinkTank fame -- the first outliner for personal computers! (A nod to Dave for letting me have a sneak peek when I was at LINK in NYC... %$#@ that I didn't have $$ to invest!)

Thanks for the link. Very nice column.


Ed @ 8/16/2001 4:02:25 PM #
My favorite title for a news article on this is from IDG: "Palm puts Be in its bonnet..."

But then I like bad puns.

News Editor

RE: Funny
maven @ 8/16/2001 5:20:55 PM #
You'll get lots of those (bad puns) from IDG :)

I still remember "Give me Liberty or Give Me Death" (IDG's review of my GameBoy emulator)

Mac people re BePalm

mikecane @ 8/16/2001 5:14:56 PM #

Be's history

mikecane @ 8/16/2001 6:40:41 PM #
RE: Be's history
andrewholler @ 1/17/2003 10:28:06 PM #
This is so interesting! I found this topic quite intriguing. I learn and learn and learn on my own, but man, these articles and responses get my brain going!

Email me about anything at
Current PDA:= Palm M130
by the way, Can someone buy me a TT?

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN la la lala la la lala

drw @ 8/16/2001 9:33:56 PM #
We gotta keep this a secret so we can secretly accumulate a large amount of shares before the fund managers catch on.

I think a BeOS based Palm OS5 is presumptive. It's going to take time, possibly a couple years, but that's a good thing. After the tech wreck of the past 16 months, I need time to dollar cost average into PALM.

I wouldn't try to toss all the engineers in the same room for them to squabble. I'd do something similar that MSFT did in continuing the DOS based Win9x going and eventually integrating it into the NT based Windows. Keep the core PALM engineers working on the legacy PalmOS as they have been while garnering insight where needed. Have the BeOS engineers start a new project that will take them into the future.

Bravo Palm! It's similar to something AMD did several years back to keep up with INTEL. They bought a small company that had technology to compete with the latest intel chips and that technology became the core for it's K6 or 7, can't remember. Not having to re-invent the wheel helped AMD and now they're super competitive with their Athlon series chips.

Also reminds me of a MSFT move. They didn't have a browser so they appropriated the old MOSAIC one to give them a start then started the take no prisoners mode. MSFT has many instances of buying a company and integrating it into the collective (borg). The cdburning capabilities in WinXP were from Roxio, the defragger in W2k is from Diskeeper, etc etc etc.

BRAVO PALM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

David in Pflugerville, TX

RE: HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN la la lala la la lala
atrizzah @ 8/18/2001 12:27:38 PM #
I'm pretty sure the idea's not to have Be's engineers replace Palm's. They are supposed to supplement Palm's engineers to help develop the multimedia and perhaps internet capabilities of OS 5. Keep in mind that Palm has been working on OS 5 for quite a while now. They realize that the ARM chips that are to be used for OS 5 have capabilities much greater than what they are working with now, and that it would be foolish to realease OS 5 units with the same rudimentary software that currently comes built in on Palms. Not that I have any problem with ol' Memo Pad, its just that I'm sure they are trying to create some software that will better highlight the abilities of the future models.

Peace Out

NOT a good thing

Cheetah @ 8/17/2001 1:36:39 AM #
I guess I'm the only one in the world that doesn't think this is a good move.

Integrating an OS, or features of an OS are extremely difficult. It's only worth it if the benefits outweigh the huge costs/risks.

IMHO, what multi-media features does Be have that Palm needs? Be was a niche high-end multi-tasking OS optimized for graphics and multi-media.

So why do I need that on my Palm???

A much better fit would be if Palm merged with Symbian (maker of the EPOC OS) which is optimized for communications and has a lot of support from the cell phone mfgs (Be gives us no strategic relationships).

Oh well, hope I'm just a dummy, and everyone else is right.

RE: NOT a good thing
AriB @ 8/17/2001 2:01:02 AM #
I don't know all the details but Be has a compressed file system that is designed for optimal use of flash memory. So it's not just about multimedia

RE: NOT a good thing
jonecool @ 8/17/2001 10:30:26 AM #
How do you know that Palm is not thinking about taking on Microsoft some day? If they can dominate the handheld market, perhaps the next step would be to write an OS that works on PPC (if it's possible, I don't know if the OS is Flash or not). If the new PalmOS (using Be stuff) can become cross platform, another 3-4 years after that there may be one that replaces your desktop computer? Always a possibility... However, remote.

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 8:29:35 PM #
maybe they will

RE: NOT a good thing
AriB @ 8/20/2001 1:20:26 AM #
are you saying a push to replace pocketpc OS with PalmOS 5 on ipaqs and other arm based pocketpc's? (sorry casio)

RE: NOT a good thing
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/25/2001 5:04:06 AM #
Multimedia on a handheld is not suprising at all - heck, they're putting out some interesting PHONES (like cell phones don't distract people enough now) in japan with color LCD screens, etc.

The multimedia's great, yes. I'm not sure how the rest of this will be RELEVANT, but they've got an interesting, pseudo-database-based file system. Be boots up FAST, regardless (moreso, I'm sure, as BeIA.) The filesystem is also journalled, so it recovers VERY quickly from a crash (power outage, etc.) And the OS itself is efficient.

Personally, I want to know what's going to happen to the desktop half of things. I *like* FreeBE...

BeOS lives on?!

CattBeMac @ 8/17/2001 1:58:16 AM #
I sure hope that Palm keeps BeOS alive and kicking... it is just too good to let die afterall. I guess we should soon find out. The Be community has been waiting to hear the rsults of what was coming in the end and now we have to wait to see if BeOS will see another day. Oh well either way my copy runs just fine;)

RE: BeOS lives on?!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 10:35:47 AM #
I had the same thought myself. I was thinking "I hope this doesn't become another Gateway/Amiga".

RE: BeOS lives on?!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 11:57:08 PM #
I was hopping the same, but im a little more negative, cosī i dont really think that Palm is interested in keeping BeOS live, neither kicking.
Please, to the Directors of Palm, keep BeOS alive, work hard and realease BeOS 6, and then BeOS 7, and keep working on this out-of-this-world OS.


I Hope Not
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 12:21:23 AM #
I hope they don't try to carry on with the BeOS. Not because I bear it any ill will (I've never even seen a computer running it) but because Palm has no business creating a desktop OS. They are a handheld company.

I know how painful it is to see something you love die but its time to admit that its over.

RE: BeOS lives on?!
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 5:39:29 PM #
If Palm isn't going to develop BeOS, and it doesn't look like they're going to, it should be released to the Open Source community where it has a chance of surviving.
It's a fantastic O/S, and it deserves a chance to be developed further..

Palm loves BeOS ;)

CattBeMac @ 8/17/2001 3:43:02 PM #
This is quoted from BeFAQs ( from an interview with one of Palm's representatives;

Palm explains interests in Be.
by Rich

The purchase of Be by Palm is very well known by BeOS users everywhere now. Many of us have seen the
quote that Palm has no plans to continue development of BeOS. Having no plans to do something and saying
you won't do it are two very different things, and this is what comes into play here.

Palm purchased Be to improve the Palm OS. "We intend to use aspects of the Be operating system in Palm
OS," said Marlene Somsak of Palm, Inc. in an interview with BeFAQs. She said that these technologies will be
used to improve Palm Handheld devices, smart phones, and other Palm devices.

While Palm has certainly researched Be's use of technology, it seems that they are still learning about the
popularity of the BeOS. "There was more media interest than I had anticipated," Somsack said, as she was still
returning phone calls a day later.

As far as the continuation of the BeOS, Somsack said that Palm would be interested in hearing our ideas.
BeFAQs has promised a compiled report from the BeOS community with regard to how Palm can develop and
distribute the BeOS through the user community.

We are currently working on a new section on the BeFAQs web site for the "survival of BeOS" where we will be
compiling ideas and information for our proposal to Palm. Your input will be very helpful! A news story will be
posted when this section is ready, which should be as soon as the new server is fully online later tonight.

If you have any questions or comments, email

Story from 2001-08-17 15:32:09+00.

This really sounds like good news, and if Palm does decide to come through, then when I do purchase a PDA it will be Palm OS compliant!


BeOS will not die completely

mikecane @ 8/17/2001 4:16:22 PM #
BeOS afficionados are forgetting that Sony is a licensee not only of PalmOS with the CLIE, but the BeOS as well with their eVilla internet appliance. Given Sony's clout, I doubt we will see Palm kill the BeOS completely. (I am typing this at a public library using Netscape. It is giving me one l-o-n-g line -- and since there is no preview, I will have to do my best to
chop this. Apologies if formatting is crewy!)

RE: BeOS will not die completely
andrewholler @ 1/17/2003 10:28:16 PM #
This is so interesting! I found this topic quite intriguing. I learn and learn and learn on my own, but man, these articles and responses get my brain going!

Email me about anything at
Current PDA:= Palm M130
by the way, Can someone buy me a TT?

Petition to save Beos

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 9:36:20 AM #

"While Palm has certainly researched Be's use of technology, it seems that they are still learning about the popularity of the BeOS. "There was more media interest than I had anticipated," Somsack said, as she was still returning phone calls a day later.

As far as the continuation of the BeOS, Somsack said that Palm would be interested in hearing our ideas. BeFAQs has promised a compiled report from the BeOS community with regard to how Palm can develop and distribute the BeOS through the user community."

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