palmOne Responds to the Pocket PC Rumor
UPDATED Yesterday, a large number of PDA enthusiast websites as well as some mainstream online media reported on a highly speculative report claiming palmOne executives "admitted" they are working to make a device with Microsoft's Pocket PC platform. PalmInfocenter gets the real word with a official response from palmOne.
The latest round of speculative reports that palmOne was considering using the Pocket PC Operating system for a future handheld broke yesterday and a large number of enthusiast sites picked up the story. Started by an Analyst report by Needham & Co., the rumor is nothing new and seems to be brought up every six months or so. In fact, this question seems to always get asked one way or another at palmOne press events. The only reason it continues to surface is because palmOne never outright denies the rumor, which leads some to the assumption that they are keeping their future options open or are using the rumors as leverage over PalmSource.
But while palmOne claims to be a platform agnostic company, they are solidly behind the Palm OS and are committed to a multiyear contract with PalmSource. palmOne's current contract with PalmSource to use the Palm OS does not expire until December 2006. While the contract is non-exclusive and palmOne is free to use any OS it desires, it is still contractually obligated to fulfill minimum commitment requirements with PalmSource.
While the rumor may excite the handheld fans and stir up the numbers on Wall st, it is not based on any substantive information and palmOne feels that the analyst report misunderstood what palmOne executives actually said.
palmOne spokesperson Jim Christensen provided PalmInfocenter with this statement:
We believe that the folks at Needham misunderstood our palmOne execs: no one from palmOne expressed the sentiments attributed to us, either at our October 5 Securities Analyst meeting or in the individual analyst meetings that followed.
It's a well-known fact that palmOne has attracted a large and loyal customer base delivering products that employ PalmOS, and that we are committed to a multiyear contract with PalmSource that includes a $40 million minimum annual commitment. We have often said that the PalmOS today has the best combination of power, ease of use, user interface and flexibility to innovate on top of the OS.
Of course, the company is open to evaluating products using additional operating systems if doing so would grow the marketplace or otherwise meet customer needs that currently are not addressed. This is nothing new. In fact, it was part of the rationale for the spin-off -- so that both companies could create their own futures.
An additional report on News.com today cites yet another source, that claims palmOne is considering many different OS options. It speculates that palmOne has been quietly exploring a Linux derived OS as well as working more closely with Microsoft.
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