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Palm chief denies Palm OS pull-back

Windows Mobile will build on Palm OS business, not replace it

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Palm CEO Ed Colligan has pledged his company's whole-hearted support for the Palm OS - in particular when it comes to its Treo family of smart phones.

Colligan promised a "rich product roadmap" of Palm OS-based Treos - and PDAs and Mobile Managers.

"Our Palm OS customer loyalty is extremely high, and we intend to continue to earn that loyalty with great Palm OS-based products," wrote Colligan in an open letter to developers of Palm OS-based apps.

"We have sold more than 30 million Palm OS-based products over the years, and it is not our intent to walk away from such a strong and loyal user base. That's why in May we extended our license for Palm OS, giving us the right to continue to make and market Palm OS-based products until 2010."

Colligan was responding to fears that Palm's decision to offer a Windows Mobile-based Treo marked the death knell for the Palm OS version. It is believed the company is preparing a new line of Palm OS-based mid-range Treos, which it intends to ship mid-2006 after releasing a Palm OS-based version of the Treo 700w, the Windows Mobile machine. A 3G Palm OS Treo is expected to appear late next year.

Of course, Palm's OS balance, at least on the Treo side, will depend on uptake of each version. If there's a big shift toward Windows Mobile, the company could expand that side of the product family at the expense of the Palm OS members.

Right now, adopting Windows Mobile is good for business, Colligan said.

"It's a fact that a large majority of businesses around the world use a Microsoft-based infrastructure across their IT assets. And many of those companies simply aren't open to products that use another OS," he claimed.

Carriers want it, and so do plenty of smart phone buyers, he added.

"We can either answer that marketplace demand with a Windows-based product, or we can walk away from that business," he said. ®

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