PalmSource Misses Deadlines; Palm's Use of Next-Generation Palm OS in Doubt

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by Adama D. Brown, Jul 29, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Adama D. Brown

    Adama D. Brown Brighthand Reviewer

    Messages:
    15,568
    Likes Received:
    557
    Trophy Points:
    288

    The failure of PalmSource and Access, Co, Ltd.&to meet contract obligations may result in the termination of Palm Inc's involvement in the development of a&future Palm OS successor.

    Last year, when Palm renewed its license to use Palm OS in its products, the company established a schedule of "minimum royalty payments" that would entitle the company to full use of the Palm OS intellectual property. These were $42 million for 2006, $35 million for 2007, $20 million for 2008, and $10 million for 2009.

    All these payments after 2006 were subject to a co-development agreement, which required&PalmSource to meet certain unnamed&development milestones.

    Now, in Palm's newly released annual report,& is a note that PalmSource and its new owner Access have failed to meet the established milestones. This has the effect of voiding Palm's agreement to make the minimum payments&to PalmSource after December 2, 2006.

    The annual report goes on to mention that Palm is negotiating with PalmSource to "expand our development and distribution rights to the current version of the Palm OS.&If we are unable to successfully conclude these negotiations, it may adversely affect our ability to develop and distribute new products based on a next-generation version of the Palm OS."

    What this portends for Palm's future&plans isn't clear, but it certainly is a major blow to the future of the Palm platform. While it's reasonably certain that Palm will continue shipping products based on the current Palm OS Garnet even if the development license does run out, a serious disagreement between the two companies could doom any plans for a new&Palm OS successor.

    These events may also hint at a broader rift between Palm and Access. Since PalmSource was bought out, Palm has not mentioned or commented on, in any significant way, the Access Linux Platform that the company has been designing.

    Is Palm Developing It's Own OS?

    Speculation has been rampant that Palm is developing their own Linux-based operating system, but certain portions of the annual report would seem to indicate that this isn't the case: rather, that Linux coders were hired early on as part of joint development operations with PalmSource.

    An alternate interpretation is that Palm Inc.'s own development is dependent on intellectual property still owned by PalmSource, and that without this they cannot continue their own projects, which might include a more "classic" version of Access Linux.

    Either way, this is a crippling and potentially fatal blow to any kind of future Palm OS development.

    Read Palm Inc.'s 10-K filing can be found on its web site.

    Related Articles

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2015
  2. Timothy Rapson

    Timothy Rapson Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    989
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Elsewhere people are conjecturing that since PalmSource has missed its promised development dates on OS6, that Palm (Hardware company) has a default right to use the original OS themselves however they want.

    Wouldn't that make an interesting legal battle?
     
  3. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

    Messages:
    20,236
    Likes Received:
    421
    Trophy Points:
    83
    I don't see where anyone could get this idea. Palm OS Garnet still belongs to PalmSource, and there's nothing here to indicate anything different.

    What this does mean is:
    • PalmSource is behind schedule developing the successor to the Palm OS (ALP)
    • Unless PalmSource can get back on track, Palm will get to use Palm OS Garnet for free until 2009
     
  4. surur

    surur -230 Rep and still right!

    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    78
    I dont know where you get that part. If you read the 8-K you will see there is still a per-device licensing cost. The mandatory payments are all that have gone.

    Surur
     
  5. Timothy Rapson

    Timothy Rapson Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    989
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    I am with Surer on the "free until 2009" part. I don't see where this development means that Palm can use the OS for free since PalmSource slipped on shipping OS6.


    I read this at another site,

    "Palm states that they will keep producing new products based on the current version of the OS, and are "presently in negotiations with PalmSource to expand our development and distribution rights to the current version of the Palm OS." This would seem to imply that Palm wants to try their hand at their very own branch off of Palm OS 5, but if that were the case it would mean we're in for some more waiting -- the practice of which Palm users must be pretty good at by now."

    Now, the part I see ( and it supports Hardy's general point, though not to the point of "free OS") in what Hardy says is that with the contract expired, Palm is in a position to tell Access they will pay little or nothing for the OS per unit. Who else can Access sell it to? They might take a very small fee of $1 or less per unit rather than watch Palm use all WinMob or perhaps worse, use their own Linux based OS that would compete with Access's planned Linux based OS and confuse customers in ways we cannot imagine.

    I said when Access bought PalmSource that they were crazy. They sure look in bad shape now.
     
  6. r0k

    r0k Dazed

    Messages:
    9,639
    Likes Received:
    1,036
    Trophy Points:
    288
    This is disgusting. I remember Fitaly leaving Palmos development a while back and thought Palm has been shooting themselves in the foot by not working well with the developers they have left. Goodness knows Microsoft isn't easy to work with so for a developer to leave Palm for Windows Mobile speaks volumes.

    Now they've switched caliber of ammo. Instead of shooting themselves in the foot with a .22 they have switched to a .44 magnum with this licensing announcement.

    If I were starting to develop a new handheld application right now, I could only seriously consider supporting Win Mobile. While I'm delighted with my Treo 650 and TX, I no longer dwell exclusively on the 700p but rather find myself thinking that Windows Mobile devices might be my only viable upgrade path.

    Somebody from Palm needs to come along and shed some light on their future OS plans soon or at least quell this rumor that we are stuck with Garnet until 2009.

    Before 2009, people are going to expect streaming video, always on internet connectivity, higher resolution, laptop replacement, 100 gigs of storage and multitasking on their handhelds. Garnet just ain't gonna cut it. By then, there is no way am I will be running an OS that needs a patch to see more than 2 gig (Fat32).
     
  7. lwehrung

    lwehrung Avid Palm User

    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    I believe a lot of conclusions being drawn from the annual report are nothing more than speculation. While there is a lot of information, all the details of licensing contract are not included in the report. About the only conclusions, I believe, that can be drawn from the report are as follows:
    1. Palm does not have an obligation to pay PalmSource the minimum royalty payments after December 2, 2006. The minimum royalty payment was something worked out so that PalmSource would be insured a certain amount of money no matter what happened to Palm in the future. With this payment being tied to PalmSource's ability to meet some necessary milestones, it provided some safe guards for Palm as well, especially since Palm's future is affected by PalmSource's ability to improve the Palm OS.
    2. Palm and PalmSource (now Access) are in negotiations. That's it. There is nothing definitive about the negotiations to determine what is being discussed. Nor do we have any details on the current rights Palm has concerning development and distribution of the current version of the Palm OS.
    I really think anything beyond these two items would be speculation and rumor. I do not think there are enough details included in the report to substantiate much beyond what I have mentioned above.

    Humbly, my two cents...

    Best regards,
    Lance
     
  8. Timothy Rapson

    Timothy Rapson Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    989
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68

    Sure, ruin all our gossipy, wild tangent, speculative, rumour-mongering fun!

    Very succinctly put, but still no fun.
     
  9. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

    Messages:
    20,236
    Likes Received:
    421
    Trophy Points:
    83
    You're right, I wasn't paying enough attention to the word "minimum." And now that I better understand what's going on, I don't think Palm no longer being required to make minimum royalty payments is is going to be a big issue, at least for another year or longer. Palm points out in several places in this SEC filing how dependent on the Palm OS it is, so so it's likely to be paying more than the minimum previously agreed to for quite some time.

    What is significant is that Palm clearly isn't happy with PalmSource's progress on the successor to Palm OS Garnet, and is preparing for the worst. The company is pointing out that if ALP doesn't meet its needs, Palm can completely stop using the Palm OS without any direct financial repercussions, as it won't have to make those minimal royalty payments.

    I don't think this is going to happen any time soon, because, as Palm says, "Our license of the Palm OS from PalmSource is critical to the operation of many of our products. We rely on PalmSource to provide the operating system for all of our handheld and a significant portion of our smartphone products."

    It goes on to say, "While we began shipping, in January 2006, a product which utilizes Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system, most of our products remain based on the Palm OS. "

    This isn't something that can be changed overnight. But it can be changed in a few years, and it seems clear to me Palm is ready to do so if necessary.
     
  10. r0k

    r0k Dazed

    Messages:
    9,639
    Likes Received:
    1,036
    Trophy Points:
    288
    Whew.

    Ok, Ed, lwehrung and surur these last few posts make a lot more sense. Palmos is in no more doubt than it has ever been. Palmsource missing dates to earn guaranteed revenue from Palm is not the death knell but we are all getting weary of delays for the next Palmos. I'm hoping there is some glimmer of light on the ALP front soon.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page