Comments on: PalmSource Secures $20 Million Investment From Sony

PalmSource Inc, announced that it has received a $20 million minority equity investment by Sony Corporation that will result in its ownership of about a six percent share of PalmSource. This investment, combined with expanded business and technical collaboration agreements enhances both companies' strategic commitment to grow the Palm Economy.
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Good news

skipbremer @ 10/8/2002 9:58:21 AM #
As a long-time Palm user and a recent Clie user (T615C), I find this to be very good news indeed. To me, this seems to help solidify the Palm platform's future. Now, if Sony will only make a Clie/CDMA device...

RE: Good news
helf @ 10/8/2002 10:03:56 AM #
woohoo! Sony does NOT want hte palm os to die.. Maybe they will eventually buy it out completely :)

RE: Great news
Cheetah @ 10/8/2002 10:17:58 AM #
This makes a lot of sense. I thought that Sony was the most likely company to bail Palm out, and it looks like it has.

If things really work out, I agree that there is a possiblity that Sony would completely acquire PalmSource.

RE: Good news
EdH @ 10/8/2002 11:09:56 AM #
This is good for PalmSource and likely the PalmOS community in general, though it has to make Handspring, Samsung and even PalmSolutions a bit nervious having one of their biggest competitors buy the OS that runs their devices.

Lets just hope Sony doesn't start to exert pressure towards Sony proprietary ideas.

RE: Good news
peter167 @ 10/8/2002 11:22:53 AM #
Hey, come on. It is only 6%. Not even a tenth. This shows that Sony will like to focus on its handhelds instead of the OS. They will let the Palm OS grows itself. The money they injected is just a sign of sympathy to the ill-linked Palm so that the whole company (both OS and hardware) can survive a little bit longer.

An intelligent manufacturer will not try to tie up their products with something that they don't need to. Just like Dell does not care what OS their PC runs on (although it is MS.) The only all-in-one is Apple, which proves to be have little success in terms of marketshare. Sony wants to dominate in the marketshare number. No doubt about that.

Lie is the future.

RE: Good news
Khunbenja @ 10/8/2002 12:26:18 PM #
Really looking forward to a Clie GSM handheld phone - something like the 7135. Can't wait.....

RE: Good news
msmasitti @ 10/8/2002 5:15:04 PM #
Peter, 6% turns into 10%, then 20, etc. It takes time - but I have no doubts that Sony would buy it out completely. Which I am all for: the OS needs a revamp.

O/T Mod
RE: Good news
peter167 @ 10/8/2002 6:24:35 PM #
I don't know what gives you an idea that Sony has to buy out Palmsource gradually.

1)Palmsource should have a better chance surviving on its own, compared to its pal - the Palm hardware company, which gives us the Zire after 18 months of R/D
2)If palmsource can survive financially, Palm OS will have a more flexible future (because if Sony completely purchases Palm OS, other licensees, such as Acer, Samsung, may halt their hardware development because of concerns over monopoly on the OS)
3)If Palm OS eventually becAme dead, Sony could have choosen other platform to work on, such as Symbian, Linux and PPC, or whatever you call it at that time.

You have to understand Sony is a hardware company, just like Dell. And I don't forsee why Sony should buyout the Palm hardware company. If you see boring products like the Zire, any company will say what I should buy this company? To sell organizers? Or to manufacture toys? Hey, it's a PDA. A classy tech device; not the 5-year-old kids at McDonald's still licking their fingers with chips and ketchup.

To say Sony will buy out Palm is absolutely an one-sided, thoughtful wish. Palm could survive on its own feet. With the Zire, Palm does not stand a chance. With low-end PPC's at $299, Palm would have a hard time convincing first-time power users why they should choose a Palm $500 Tungsten instead of a $300 Dell or a $300 Viewsonic or a $300 HP/Compaq.

It's just my 2 cents.

Lie is the future.

RE: Good news
myname @ 10/9/2002 4:44:51 AM #
Sony is a consumer electronics company, what that includes is Research and development on Software and hardware. They do everything. Look at the Clie only apps on your palm, those are software, look at the 320X320, 320X480 screen on your clie, those are Software + hardware, Look at playstation, that is Software + hardware.

btw: Sony is nothing like Dell.

I'll tell you why Sony would buy palm (hard ware division)
stellaboy @ 10/9/2002 4:34:09 PM #
They would buy them to get rid of competition. Palm and Sony make the best palm pdas between them at the moment. If Sony owned Palm they could become Sony Palm. This way Sony Palm would make the best PDAs, no competition.

RE: Good news
peter167 @ 10/10/2002 5:54:40 PM #
Sony makes software for PS2? I think you should take a deeper look.

Sony has to create the new software for the NR-series screen just because ... it NEEDS to. Or should we say because Palm built-in apps are limited; therefore, Sony has to write the apps that are compatible with their screen resolution. If Palm built-in apps are ready for multiple resolutions, Sony wouldn't have to rewrite those apps. A hardware company focus on hardware, and of course, some kind of specific software need to be accompanied so that the hardware will function properly (A video card and its driver are a good example.)

Futhermore, I don't know why Sony needs to buyout Palm to get the dominant marketshare. First, Sony is gaining momentum on the PDA war, and its new hardware proves that it is capable of getting more marketshare in the coming year. Do you think Sony believes in all the BS Palm just brought out about Zire to bring more new potential buyers into the PDA market? Not a chance. This is all market tactics. We'll see miserable Zire sales this Christmas season. It will be way weaker than the launch of the m10x series; this time Palm will try to blame this failure on the poor economy.

Palm has to live on its own feet with newer, better products. If they just stand on their ground, their future will be like Netscape's - demise. And netscape is acquired by AOL, at a dirt cheap price. And I think Palm fans will not want to see Palm going down to the sink. However, given their ability and past performance, I doubt that these guys can turn the company around. Unattractive products with price premiums - even GM cars are boring but cheap. Palm units are boring yet expensive.

Lie is the future.

Send in the trolls...

Strider_mt2k @ 10/8/2002 10:03:33 AM #
I guess it's time for the Sony trolls with their new fake mames to start chiming in...

BTW losing the anon posts hasn't changed very much on here.

RE: Send in the trolls...
LotSolarin @ 10/8/2002 10:13:04 AM #
And what, like it says Strider on your birth certificate? :-) Try to be a little more optimistic about it. Most of us has attested that we've seen a significant improvement in the signal/noise ratio since the change was made.

PalmSource's point is right on track. This is great news because it makes PalmOS development more powerful, it continues to bind Sony to the actual OS (perhaps Sony "augmentations" to the OS will be integrated in the next version?) and most importantly it symbolizes the concept of all the Palm Powered companies acting as patrons toward PalmSource.

This, I think, is exactly what the spinoff concept was going for. The future of Palm handhelds is all PalmSource. They will *drive* innovation in the other companies and help to stir up demand. It's just what we wanted!

RE: Send in the trolls...
Davy Fields @ 10/8/2002 10:24:56 AM #
"BTW losing the anon posts hasn't changed very much on here."

I was going to say the same thing...... but then I realized, everytime I saw some undeserved negative post, it was almost always coming from you, so yeah, it doesn't help if people still post anonymously..... we can see who you are now.

-Davy Fields

RE: Send in the trolls...
PFloyd @ 10/8/2002 10:43:09 AM #
I like the new posting rules. Maybe there could be a way to filter your Comments view to block out posts from people who are just lowering the signal to noise ratio.

RE: Send in the trolls...
Admin @ 10/8/2002 11:44:17 AM #
PFloyd, I have something in mind for that.
RE: Send in the trolls... (+1 insightful ?)
Token User @ 10/8/2002 12:33:58 PM #
Perhaps a /. style rating?

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~
RE: Send in the trolls...
HandyMan @ 10/8/2002 1:22:53 PM #
I like slashdot ratings. But you could into the problem of karma and post whores that happens so often.

But back to the topic on hand... I think this is a great idea. It would be even better if some of the others chip into PalmSource. Since PalmSource represent the OS, they should be controlled by the ALL the device makers not just PalmSolutions or Sony.

RE: Send in the trolls...
Strider_mt2k @ 10/8/2002 6:14:02 PM #
I am on file here and on Yahoo. Any one can check me out if they so choose. And they can contact me personally with any problems.
Imply what you will.

And yes, I post negative things where I see negative things happening. Like here with the bogus posters.

Like here with the Sony trolls, of which I speak, and we all know. I am not the only one to use the term.

Feh, what's the use trying to explain anything to these people? I'm not wasting my time anymore.

RE: Send in the trolls...
Massman82 @ 10/8/2002 8:31:47 PM #
Firstly, if you are a Sony enthusiasts, meaning you have come to know that most Sony products are of a high quality and are happy to own one. Therefore you praise their products. This does not make you a troll.

Strider, you are right. There are still some people who post ignorantly but the number has diminished and I would attribute that to the removal of anonymous posting.

Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld

RE: Send in the trolls...
jjsoh @ 10/8/2002 9:51:17 PM #
: I guess it's time for the Sony trolls with their new
: fake mames to start chiming in...
: BTW losing the anon posts hasn't changed very much on
: here.

Does anyone else see the irony in this post? :/

I don't see how your start of this thread contributes anything to the discussion. Why do you let the so-called "Sony trolls" bother you so much? When you post just as lame a comment as any other "troll" might probably only adds more fuel to the fire.

If there is any place online where you can post a message or comment, expect trolls. Period.

: Feh, what's the use trying to explain anything to
: these people? I'm not wasting my time anymore.

Heheh.. Don't take this the wrong way, but after reading all you've written before this final line, I found this statement to be quite humorous. :)


RE: Send in the trolls...
jjsoh @ 10/8/2002 10:12:08 PM #
Argh.. I make no sense in my previous post! I hate it when that happens. How about a "Preview" button in your next version, Ryan? Hmm..?? :)

Anyway, it's late and I made myself to sound like a babbling idiot (which, by the way, is not too hard for me). I guess to sum up: live in peace with the trolls. Sometimes, they're funny. Hehe...

In all seriousness, there's a troll in most of us. Some just disguise it better than others. :D


We all knew this was coming

PalmusMagnus @ 10/8/2002 10:02:47 AM #
I don't like Sony's tendancy for proprietary technology. However, their rabid innovation with Palm-enabled hardware makes me glad to hear this news. I would be comfortable with up to a 45% Sony stake in PalmSource.

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
RE: We all knew this was coming
robman @ 10/8/2002 10:59:37 AM #
Sony's tendency to use propietary technology (see Memory Stick, sound enhancements, add-on connectors, and this NX70-V quasi CF slot controversy) are the main reason I have not bought a Sony handheld yet.

What sort of pull does $20 million bucks get you? Does this mean that Sony will be able to force PalmSource to make the MS natively supported? (Bad!) Or does it mean that Sony will be able to force PalmSource to natively support virtual graffiti (Good!)

I just hope this cash goes to good use.

Palm Researcher at the University of Texas at Austin

RE: We all knew this was coming
dspeers @ 10/8/2002 11:29:01 AM #

It's impossible to know what $20MM will buy you without seeing the terms of their contract. Venture capitalists routinely invest this amount, and their only return is in stock valuation.

My guess is that this move is intended to (a) ensure the stability of the Palm platform; (b) solidify Sony's commitment and rights as a licensee; and (c) provide some long-term return to Sony in the form of market capitalization. Whether it includes other rights, like access to source code, preliminary review of future technical specifications, special consideration for back-ports of Sony's innovations into the core OS, etc., we wouldn't know unless they told us. And I'm not sure why they would.

RE: We all knew this was coming
robrecht @ 10/8/2002 11:54:43 AM #
I don't think native OS support for memory stick would be necessarily bad unless SD was no longer supported (which isn't likely). SONY currently has a lot of great products that use memory stick.

Note that Konica has a new 4 GB super small digital camera that supports both SD and memory stick.

Note also that Matsu****a announced a 1 GB SD card with 10x transfer rate of 128 MB SD card. Meanwhile, SONY still hasn't released a 256 MB SD card. Get with it, SONY!

Thanks, Robrecht

RE: We all knew this was coming
robrecht @ 10/8/2002 12:03:05 PM #
Correction: Konica 4 MegaPixel camera

Thanks, Robrecht
RE: We all knew this was coming
twalk @ 10/8/2002 12:38:35 PM #
My guess is that Sony will be slowly "paid back" that amount with lower licensing charges for several years.

RE: We all knew this was coming
myname @ 10/8/2002 12:51:24 PM #
huh !? where did u get the idea of Sony getting Palm OS at a lower price ??

RE: We all knew this was coming
coolchan @ 10/8/2002 3:14:38 PM #
Yes the Konica camera is great! I got it, sold my old one. Now I have more gadgets to use with the MS.

RE: We all knew this was coming
twalk @ 10/8/2002 5:45:09 PM #
"huh !? where did u get the idea of Sony getting Palm OS at a lower price ??"

I don't know if they are or not. I've just seen enough of these deals to know that that is often what happens. Plus $20M != 6% of PalmSource. Maybe 75%, but not 6%.

RE: We all knew this was coming
rsc1000 @ 10/9/2002 1:12:23 PM #
>I don't know if they are or not. I've just seen enough of these deals to know that that is often what happens. Plus $20M != 6% of PalmSource. Maybe 75%, but not 6%.

Huh? Where are you pulling yr estimates from? The article say that this investment comes to about 6%, and anybody/everybody knows that PalmSources total value is NOT less then $30 million (as you suggest with yr '$20M = 75%' estimate.

As for yr assumption that Sony will get a better price on the OS - thats not likely. PalmSources credibility with other liscensees would be at stake. Its likely what the articles says: an agreement to buy $20M in stock PLUS an agreement to work together on various OS technologies.

Ownership breakdown

potter @ 10/8/2002 11:05:40 AM #
How does the ownership of PalmSource now break down? I assume that Palm and/or 3Com own a majority of PalmSource, but how big? And then, who else owns a large chunk of PalmSource?

RE: Ownership breakdown
KRamsauer @ 10/8/2002 12:35:55 PM #
RE: Ownership breakdown
jjsoh @ 10/8/2002 10:02:27 PM #

I think potter was asking about PalmSource, and not Palm, Inc. ;) Does anyone have some numbers? I'm a bit curious, too.


RE: Ownership breakdown
KRamsauer @ 10/9/2002 5:03:09 PM #
Palm Source is still part of Palm Inc. We wont' know the exact breakdown until later. However since palm source stock is being spun to PALM owners, the ratios will be the same.

Sony-Palm Phones?

razorpit @ 10/8/2002 11:19:45 AM #
Aren't the current crop of Sony "smart" phones Symbol based? Kind of makes you think they will be dropping that platform soon.

Imagine the possibilities of a Palm powered Sony phone. We could have holographic communicators like the ones on Star Wars by the end of the year! ;-)


RE: Sony-Palm Phones?
Mike Allwitt @ 10/8/2002 11:53:22 AM #
I thought they were symbian based, through their partnership with Ericson. The last I heard the Sony-Ericson collaboration was beginning to hit rough water.

Mike Allwitt
Logic X Design, Inc
Database Consulting
- Yeh, it's cool. Was it, supposed to do that?
RE: Sony-Palm Phones?
razorpit @ 10/8/2002 12:13:58 PM #
Sorry Mike you were right. I must have had a brain fart, I meant to say Symbian.


So Palm Hardware division worth about $30M?

gotogo @ 10/8/2002 11:37:53 AM #
If 6% of PalmSource is $20M, this makes PalmSource worth about $333M. Currently the total price (market cap at current share price) of all of Palm is about $360M. This makes the Palm hardware division division only worth about $27M.
It should be interesting to see how they divide up the value, and how some accountants might try to create some value in the split....

RE: So Palm Hardware division worth about $30M?
KRamsauer @ 10/8/2002 12:37:47 PM #
Well, that valuation seems rougly correct. Look at HAND, pretty much an equivalent of Palm Hardware. They are valued at $88M right now. With PALM valued at 380M right now (slight bounce today) and the calculation you made, the hardware division is worth 47M.

RE: So Palm Hardware division worth about $30M?
Nebrie @ 10/8/2002 3:30:56 PM #
Valuations continue to be meaningless. I can point you to at least half a dozen companies that have enough cash to buy themselves out and still have enough left over to buy several islands. Palm would be worth a lot more if they just turned steady profits.

RE: So Palm Hardware division worth about $30M?
hotpaw4 @ 10/8/2002 6:57:58 PM #
If you could actually buy the hardware division for $30M, it would be a great deal, given that the last financial statment said they have over $300M cash on hand, and at least $250M in current assets over liabilities (not even including plant and equipment, etc.)
RE: So Palm Hardware division worth about $30M?
Mr. Roboto @ 10/8/2002 9:47:26 PM #
Say at the de-merger, what was discussed above came to pass, and the hardware division is only worth some $30MM, I am sure a lot of people will want to buy it.

Heck, even at double the price ($60MM), it will still cost substantially less to buy over a business with sales of almost $1 billion (ttm) than to build it up from scratch. I note also the debt/equity ratio is 0.12

Maybe Dell or such others will buy over the hardware division, trim expenses by firing all the fat-cat management, and make money from it.

To me, the fate of the software division is still dicey despite all that's been said, and could very well end up being another Symbian.

RE: So Palm Hardware division worth about $30M?
ginsberg @ 10/9/2002 2:10:44 AM #
Palm's market capitalization as of today is about $388 million. They have $266 million in cash & cash equivalents on their balance sheet. This means Wall Street is valuing Palm IP and tangible assets at $122 million.

If PalmSource is valued at $333 million, then the "logic" of Wall Street says that Palm Solutions is worth a negative $211 million.

RE: So Palm Hardware division worth about $30M?
ska @ 10/9/2002 8:46:58 AM #
I don't think Palm has manufacturing asset.
RE: So Palm Hardware division worth about $30M?
peter167 @ 10/14/2002 1:28:29 AM #
I hope you guys understand that Sony is doing a favor to Palm to purchase 6% of Palmsource at that price. Let's hope Palmsource could sell more copies of its OS in the future. But it looks like only Sony would be the biggest buyer and Handspring and Palm units shipment are trending down.

Lie is the future.

Sony Rules!

zipwire @ 10/8/2002 11:57:57 AM #
I remember getting blasted here sometime back when I said Sony's products are far more superior compared to Palm's. Of course back then, Sony had "only" less than 6% of the PDA market share. Now, they are amongst the top 3. Of course having deep pockets help but it was the sheer innovation that Sony brought to the Palm economy that really kept Palm alive.

$20 mil is just a drop in the bucket for Sony but that cements the partnership with PalmSource that funnily enough Palm, Inc could not.

How ironic that PalmSource had to turn to Sony and not Palm Inc for help in innovating and invigorating this market.

RE: Sony Rules!
LarryGarfield @ 10/8/2002 12:17:57 PM #
Um, PalmSource is already helped out by Palm, which owns a majority stake in PalSource for now. Palm is directly helping PalmSource far more than Sony, it's the parent company.

This post is ROT26 encrypted. Reading it is a violation of the DMCA
RE: Sony Rules!
M3wThr33 @ 10/8/2002 1:41:01 PM #
Well it seems logical, because a majority share of PalmSource is Palm. Although I fear Sony's market share if they can't design a low-end handheld for not-rich-out-the-wazoo consumers. Lately it seems like all Sony cares about it catering to money whores, I don't know how long it can last.

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.
RE: Sony Rules!
HandyMan @ 10/8/2002 1:58:19 PM #
I don't agree that "Lately it seems like all Sony cares about it catering to money whores, ..."

Their last few new Cliés has been at the lower end, like the SJ and SL series. Palm just hits a little lower. Even if you look at Sony's other consumer products, it isn't always about high end stuff. They have a wide range of models and price-point to get you into Sony brand.

RE: Sony Rules!
myname @ 10/8/2002 2:03:27 PM #
well I think if Sony makes a 2MB, mono screen with no backlit, 2 button, no jogdial, no MS, no T-series adaptor handheld it'll sell for less than 100 dollars.

RE: Sony Rules!
Serotta @ 10/8/2002 5:17:48 PM #
check out the SJ-10 and see if you wouldn't rather buy that for $150 instead of a Zire for $100. Let's see 33 Mhz, 320x320, 8 meg, memory stick, jog dial and 4 buttons. The Zire is a joke comparatively speaking.

RE: Sony Rules!
zipwire @ 10/8/2002 9:59:36 PM #
Larry, what I commented on was that PalmSource is looking towards Sony for help despite them "already" being owned by Palm, Inc.

One would think that PalmSource would turn to their parent for help and in their case to bring innovation if not money. It seems that Palm, Inc has conceded that they can't give that help and rightly so. Palm when compared to Sony is just a minnow.

The gist is that Palm, Inc also realized that it is Sony and not them that is driving the innovation in the Palm economy.

I started this comment by saying that some people in this forum blasted me for blasphemy in the past - that Sony's products were better than Palm's.

Whether it takes a turn for the best or worst - we are yet to see but if Palm,Inc were to continue churning out stuff like their m-Series PDA without any Sony to compete with, the worst would have come far earlier.

RE: Sony Rules!
PacManFoo @ 10/8/2002 10:40:59 PM #
Actually CompUSA has SL10 at $139. Lets see a Zire for a Hundred or a SL10 for $139.

RE: Sony Rules!
MikeInDM @ 10/9/2002 9:03:20 AM #
But you won't see the Sony at Wal-Mart. Let me see... a $100 Palm or **nothing** which would you buy? You have to remember the targeted audience of a $100 Palm is NOT the same audience that shops at CompUSA.


RE: Sony Rules!
Roberto_tores @ 10/10/2002 7:04:30 AM #
"$20 mil is just a drop in the bucket for Sony but that cements the partnership with PalmSource that funnily enough Palm, Inc could not.

How ironic that PalmSource had to turn to Sony and not Palm Inc for help in innovating and invigorating this market."

I don't understand your comment, Palm Source still belongs to Palm Inc.

Sony purchased 6% in shares of PalmSource, Palm Inc. owns the other 94%.

When is the split complete?

HandyMan @ 10/8/2002 1:31:43 PM #
They say "aggressive schedule" but what does that really mean? Can anybody give an idea of when the split of PlamSource is likely to be completed. And what about the whole Palm branding issue when teh two splits?

RE: When is the split complete?
Token User @ 10/8/2002 3:32:56 PM #
Palmsource split wont happen until after the Palm stock reverse split is completed, THEN the split will occur, and new Palmsource shares will be issued to standard Palm stock holders. Its happening, they are getting their ducks in a row ready for the split.

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~

Minority Report

mikecane @ 10/8/2002 7:35:15 PM #
So, when is Palm OS 666 due?

(Yeah, I know 5 isn't even in stores yet...)

RE: Minority Report
Massman82 @ 10/8/2002 8:35:01 PM #
I'll expect it in six months maybe? I hope for it to come in four months. It will probably come in 8 months :)

Roman Pedan
Palm V/Vx
Will get a Palm OS 5 handheld
RE: Minority Report
polymath @ 10/9/2002 10:11:04 AM #
OS6 machines are at least a year away.

RE: Minority Report
mikecane @ 10/9/2002 7:19:36 PM #
Sure, the hardware is a year away, most likely. But I want to start at least hearing leaks about OS 666. Get that excitement going. OS 5 = Yawn.

OK, I'll start the first rumor. I hear OS 666 has former Be, Inc. programmers working on it. Hah!



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