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Palm purges staff, chops products

But new OS still due next year

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Palm is laying off up to ten per cent of its staff and cutting some product offerings as the company faces increasing competition in the smartphone market.

The ten per cent figure comes from a tip-off received by Valleywag, who were able to confirm that the company is indeed laying off staff and would be dropping some projects, though its new OS is apparently still on track for next year.

Just to recap - Palm used to have a rather nice handheld OS, so nice that the company split it off into a separate operation in the hope of licensing it, but that proved unsuccessful and the unit got itself bought by Access. Palm then bought a perpetual licence from Access, which is developing its own updated version of the OS which has recently been seen on set-top boxes amongst other things.

Meanwhile Palm has been churning out quite nice Windows Mobile devices while working on its own updated version of the OS.

Remarkably, the ageing Palm OS still has followers - mostly using StyleTap's emulator in Windows Mobile or Symbian these days - and it's still the only mobile platform that can play a decent game of Go.

But both Access and Palm are going to have to reveal something pretty spectacular when the competition includes Apple and Google, not to mention Nokia and Microsoft - it's not at all clear that the world needs another mobile OS or two.

The details of who will stay and who will go are still under discussion within Palm, but it looks as though some at the company are in for a rough Christmas. ®

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