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LG throws PalmSource a lifeline

PalmSource throws LG a license

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Korean giant LG has given PalmSource a much needed piece of good news, by agreeing to license PalmOS for smartphones. It wasn't disclosed which offering LG will take, nor what the deal is worth.

PalmSource offers PalmOS 5 "Garnet", its 32-bit successor "Cobalt", and Linux. Last week, however, PalmSource's acting boss Patrick McVeigh effectively declared Garnet and Cobalt stone dead, and said all internal development was moving to Linux.

He also announced job cuts of 16 per cent, which the company hopes will save $6 m a year in salaries.

Palm first explored Linux as an option in 2001 but plumped instead for acquiring a talented development team from Be, Inc to create a media-friendly, 32-bit mobile OS. Eighteen months ago, PalmSource's CEO David Nagel was hinting that Sony Ericsson would adopt Cobalt for its smartphones. However PalmSource hasn't even been able to persuade PalmOne (now to be renamed Palm) to use Cobalt in its Treo smartphone. Nagel quit in May.

LG bucks the trend of the past year, with Sony withdrawing its Clie PDA from all but the home Japanese market.

In December, PalmSource acquried Chinese MobileSoft (CMS), which develops a Linux-based OS and has ten licensees on board. Then, in February, PalmSource told us it was salvaging Cobalt code and strapping it onto CMS' Linux kernel-based OS as fast as it could. ®

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