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PalmOne regains old handle

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Palm, ladies and gentlemen, is now Palm again. When the Nasdaq market opens for business later today, the company's stock will be traded under the PALM symbol.

Palm's new logoWhile the company's web site had been updated this morning with the new logo, the homepage's title still said "PalmOne, formerly Palm", so presumably it will soon be updated to read "Palm, formerly PalmOne, formerly Palm".

Palm retained its name from its foundation in 1995 through its subsequent acquisition by US Robotics and later by 3Com. The name was dropped in favour of PalmOne when the company was split in twain, one part becoming PalmSource and focusing on the operating system, the other bit concerning itself only with the hardware.

The October 2003 split followed arose out of Palm's decision to license the Palm OS and the need to make it clear to licensees that their operating system supplier was giving the hardware division no special favours. By and large, it worked. PalmSource is profitable, and PalmOne has retained its place as the lead Palm OS device developer.

In May this year, PalmOne acquired PalmSource's share in the holding company both firms co-founded to retain the rights to the Palm name. PalmSource has a licence to use the name for four more years, after which it will have to renegotiate or change its name - it's likely to do the latter, particularly since the Palm OS itself will by then have become Linux with a nice GUI stuck on the front and some proprietary libraries thrown in for good measure.

In that timeframe, Palm itself may well be offering Windows Mobile-based devices too, so the connection between the world 'Palm' and the name of operating system will need to be broken. As we noted in May, most people call PalmOne 'Palm' still, so the move reflects reality. Palm wants you to associate the word with the device not the OS. ®

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