PalmSource, the makers of the PalmOS are looking to acquire China’s MobileSoft. MobileSoft will provide PalmSource with a solid footing in the lucrative Chinese and Asian markets, as well as providing valuable IP which would allow the OS maker to produce a Linux version of PalmOS.
Industry experts are expecting the deal to close by the end of February, 2005, and will broaden PalmSource’s portfolio to include a variety of software packages at all price points.
“This is the next stage in our growth and a major milestone for the mobile phone industry. We plan to offer the ease-of-use and flexibility that Palm OS is known for to all mobile phones,” said David Nagel, president and CEO of PalmSource. “We believe the combination of PalmSource, CMS and Linux gives us the technological and market critical mass to compete with even the biggest proprietary operating system companies.”
According to PalmSource, the OS maker will continue to offer both Palm OS Garnet and Palm OS Cobalt, but did not clarify whether the Linux-based version of its operating system will be a distinct product line nor if the three will merge at any point.
David Nagel, chief executive at PalmSource, told vnunet.com: “This allows us to significantly broaden the range of devices we can use, not only for smartphones but for feature phones at all prices.
To date, approximately 36 million devices running the Palm OS have been shipped from makers ranging from Fossil through Kyocera, palmOne, Samsung, Sony and others.
PalmSource plans to issue approximately 1,570,000 shares to pay for the company, subject to shareholder approval. At current market rates that values China Mobilesoft at over $20m. The Nanjing-based company has over 100 staff whom PalmSource will employ.