Colligan Says Palm Very Committed to Palm OS

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Ever since Palm, Inc. announced that it is going to release its first device running Windows Mobile, some have questioned whether this company is going to continue to use the Palm OS in the future.

At the time of the announcement, Palm CEO Ed Colligan said that the Windows Mobile Treo was intended to reach out to customers who had standardized on Microsoft products, and would not replace the Palm OS version.

Recently, several analyst reports showed that Palm intends to introduce multiple Palm OS-based Treos next year.

Also, a Palm spokesperson has said that her company does not plan to release any Windows Mobile handhelds, just smartphones.

Nevertheless, some still continue to express doubts about Palm’s commitment to the Palm OS. In an attempt to quell these, the company’s CEO has released the following open letter:

    Dear Palm Developer,

    I’m writing to you today because I’m concerned by the number of posts I’ve read that suggest that Palm’s support of Palm OS is either wavering or short-lived. It is neither.

    I thought I had made this perfectly clear with earlier statements, but let me reiterate that our announcement on Sept. 26th that we’ll broaden our line of Treo smartphones to include ones made on the Windows Mobile platform is all about growing the Treo market. We want to deliver the Palm experience on Windows Mobile, strengthen our company’s ability to deliver ever-more capable solutions and answer current and potential customers’ requests for a Windows Mobile-based product from Palm. This is not a zero-sum game! This market is in its infancy, and if we can expand our opportunities by being a strong cross-platform provider of world-class smartphone products, then we should do so. At the same time, this does not mean we need to walk away from our existing products or technology partnerships, like Palm OS.

    It’s a fact that a large majority of businesses around the world use a Microsoft-based infrastructure across their IT assets. And many of those companies simply aren’t open to products that use another OS. Some of our carriers also have been asking for a Treo on this platform. Finally, many end users in the world are attracted to the familiar Windows user interface. We can either answer that marketplace demand with a Windows-based product, or we can walk away from that business.

    We have a rich product roadmap of Palm OS-based handheld computers, mobile managers AND Treo smartphones that we intend to deliver. Our Palm OS customer loyalty is extremely high, and we intend to continue to earn that loyalty with great Palm OS-based products. We have sold more than 30 million Palm OS-based products over the years, and it is not our intent to walk away from such a strong and loyal user base. That’s why in May we extended our license for Palm OS, giving us the right to continue to make and market Palm OS-based products until 2010.

    So, I’d like to ask you to look at our Windows Mobile news as a way to expand our market opportunity. We have every intention of continuing to support our Palm OS developers and to encourage the expansion of the already rich array of consumer and enterprise applications and peripherals for Palm OS. We’re pleased Access has initiated the purchase of PalmSource because we believe Access has the resources to really invest in and develop Palm OS.

    Net net, I believe that developing differentiated, software-rich products on a range of industry-standard platforms puts us in a unique position with customers and carriers and helps us expand the market opportunity for us, the developer community and everyone involved in the smartphone category. I hope you will agree.

    Regards,

    Ed Colligan
    Palm, Inc. president and CEO

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