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Handspring pledges Palm fealty

Serfdom extended to 2009

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Handspring has extended its agreement to license PalmOS until 2009. The companies confirmed the deal ahead of Handspring's quarterly results, due tomorrow.

Royalties were not disclosed, nor did Handspring say if the deal was exclusive.

With echoes of the Apple clone saga, the renewed royalty terms are understood to be a thorny topic between the two companies. Palm is in the same position as Apple was then, of course: competing with its customers. Handspring's phenomenal entry into the PDA business came largely at the expense of Palm's market share, although this was tempered by the fact that the PalmOS market as a whole was growing. But with talk of a recession, that can no longer be taken for granted. Apple eventually killed the MacOS clone business to preserve its own market share.

Hawkins duly paid his fealties today. "Extending the license ensures that we can continue to build great Palm OS based products for many years to come," he said in a statement, which promised to extend the OS to meet "the rapidly changing mobile computing market."

A fortnight ago Hawkins spelled out a future in which it was "almost certain" that Handspring would license alternative or complimentary operating systems. There's nothing in today's agreement that changes that, of course... ®

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