Feeds

Palm to buy Psion?

London stock market thinks so, even as Psion loses Motorola development money

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Palm is trying to buy UK PDA pioneer Psion in order to take control of Symbian, according to claims doing the rounds among London's stock brokers, at any rate.

Earlier today, Psion's share price rose to 290 on the rumour, but later fell to 213 after it admitted its wireless device development deal with Motorola was over.

Psion is Symbian's majority shareholder. Symbian was formed to take Psion's Epoc 32 operating system and build a platform for next-generation mobile communications and computing. Since then, it has attracted the support of the likes of Nokia, Matsushita, Sony, Ericsson and Motorola, all of who have invested in the company.

Palm won't discuss the matter. Psion's official line on the claim is a 'no comment', but one insider, cited by the APX newswire, was sceptical. He said any move by Palm to take over Symbian via a Psion acquisition would be rejected by Psion's fellow Symbian stakeholders.

We're not so sure about that. After all, Sony, Nokia and Motorola have close ties with Palm, either as a PalmOS licensee, software partner or hardware supplier, so they might be very happy to get Palm in on the deal. The end of Psion's joint development programme with Motorola, a Palm pal, suggests Motorola may even have given its blessing to a Palm acquisition.

We're dealing with Palm and we're dealing with Symbian, so why not bring the two together and simplify matters, you can just see the likes of Nokia and Motorola thinking.

Bear in mind, though, that misheard whispers of the end of the Motorola-Psion team-up could equally be the source of the Palm takeover rumours.

Symbian would certainly be the target of any Psion takeover were Palm to make such a move. Palm could well do with a new, more advanced OS to provide a more powerful framework for its increasingly Internet-oriented applications and to take advantage of faster, more capable processors.

Symbian's Epoc 32 is an ideal contender, and indeed Nokia and Palm are already modifying the Palm UI to run on top of an Epoc core. Like we say, there are some very close ties between Palm and various Symbian members.

Palm has a market cap of around $15 billion, so it has plenty of resources to make a pass at Psion's shareholders.

"Palm would have to buy in paper; trouble is, its paper is based on the company being valued as a software company," said the Psion source. "If Palm were to licence Symbian it would say to the market that it is not a software company, because it doesn't have a next-generation operating system which is competitive."

Except, of course, that by buying Psion, Palm would get a next-generation OS for itself, so that's possibly less of an issue than APX's (senior, we suspect) Psion deep throat believes.

Psion said that the loss of Motorola's development money would cost it around £12 million in 2001 profits. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.