Sunday, October 16, 2005

Garnet is in bad hands if purchased by Palm

Recently, a few analysts rumoured that Access is planning to sell Palm Os Garnet aka Palm OS 5 to Palm Inc. While I personally believe that this is mainly an attempt to get some attention to their sites, it would be a very bad idea anyways.

Whenever thinking of Palm powered handhelds, you really need to look at more companies than just Palm. Yes, I know, most of us can only see Palm in the retail store, but there still is Qool, GSPDA and possibly also Fossil, Garmin, Symbol and Aceeca! These all make decent devices running on Garnet or even on some older versions of the OS. Imagine their reaction if they hear that the OS they depend on went to a competitor? A swap would likely follow... .

Now, some of you will say that this is a good thing as they would move over to Cobalt. However, I believe that this is not true for a simple reason. Cobalt is an intermediary OS that will die a fast death in the moment Palm OS for Linux materializes. So, all the cash that went into customizing Cobalt will be lost on both developers and licensees ends. Thus, many of the licensees will then be motivated to look at Windows CE, and some of them actually already have.

Last but not least, the Cobalt device would have a hard stand in the market. Many developers will not optimize their apps for Cobalt as it doesn’t pay out on a financial standpoint. Thus, users will be dissatisfied with it and will eventually swap brands-which is not a good thing to happen.

So, I personally believe that Garnet is in the best hands where it currently is-at Access Co's headquarters. However, I am always open for suggestions. Where do you believe that Garnet should be at home?

4 Comments:

Blogger Tom Frauenhofer said...

Hi Tam - good editorial. I personally don't think that PalmSource would sell their cash cow yet, and read my blog for reasons why I don't think that you'll ever see a Cobalt device. Cobalt has gone to the great Vaporware Site in the Sky; anybody releasing a product on it would be foolish.

12:49 AM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi Tom,
a nice editorial too. I really gota link to you properly sometimes in the future so that you get a pagerank boost(there is the nofollow attribute automatically inserted forcefully by blogger here)!
Best regards
Tam Hanna

7:21 AM  
Anonymous dmccunney said...

I'm not sure it matters where Garnet calls home.

PalmSource was essentially an IP licenser. When they were spun off from Palm, Inc., what they had to sell was PalmOS. PalmOS was already licensed to a variety of other outfits, including Handspring, Sony, HandEra, Garmin, Tapwave and others even before Palm spun off the OS development operation as a seperate division.

(The spinoff wasn't exactly Palm's idea: it was the result of investor pressure to do things to maintain and increase the stock price. The sale of PalmSource to Access was precipitated by a drastic decline in license revenue, as biggest other customer Sony essentially exited the PDA market and dramatically reduced the number of device licenses they purchased.)

You can assume that a batallion of lawyers worked late hours on the sale to Access, making sure that all I's were dotted and all T's were crossed, so there was no confusion about existing licenses. The IP was simply owned by someone else, but existing licenses remained in force under the terms of the original contract. It would be the same deal if Access sold off Garnet to Palm. Licensees using OS 5 would pay fees to Palm instead of Access, but so what? They used to do that before...

The question is what Access would have left if they did sell Garnet to Palm.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi,
they would be left with one huge problem: how to pull Garnet off the market. If Access simply stops licencing ther Garnet OS and gives a good POL and some help instead, manufacturers will eventually have to switch. But with Garnet out of the house, Palm will IMHO never stop using Garnet!
Best regards
Tam Hanna

8:13 PM  

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