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3Com greases Palm Computing Platform with wireless purchase

Moving into Symbian territory

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3Com is pumping up the Palm Computing Platform with the $17.5 million cash acquisition of Smartcode, a small French developer of wireless data technology. The deal confirms 3Com is veering into Symbian and Windows CE territory, with the Palm Computing Platform (PCP). With a wireless interface developer under its belt, PCP now has more functionality to tempt third party manufacturers in the emerging market for mobile information appliances. 3Com is not just buying Smartcode for its technology: the Montpelier based company already does real business with several telecoms and computer manufacturers including Alcatel, Motorola, Samsung Electronics and TDK Systems. Smartcode will now be renamed Palm Computing Platform Europe. According to research firm Dataquest, 3Com sits at the top of the handheld computing list. Dataquest said 3Com shipped 1.6 million handhelds worldwide last year, giving it a market share of 40.1 per cent. Sharp, Psion, Hewlett-Packard and Philips made up the rest of the top five global handheld market ranking. Forty-one per cent of handheld devices shipped in 1998 ran on the Palm operating system, 25 per cent were CE-based and 13 per cent ran Psion's Epoc32, the research said. ®

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