Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Is Palm OS toast? While some think Be's NeXTish reverse take-over of Palm OS means the company's been saved, I'm less convinced. Be failed because it was run by insane engineers who seriously thought OSes didn't need applications to ship and what users *really* wanted was to play 3 DVDs AND move their windows around simultaneously. Why this flavor of insanity should help Palm, whose major flaw was to ignore the corporate market, I don't know.

Palm was the hardware company whose user-centric philosophy came closest to Creative Good's. It succeeded where an entire industry (Newton etc.) failed and owns about 75% of the handheld market. But in corporations, end customers don't make the buying decisions and IT is out of touch with basic user needs, so they push the bloated and expensive PocketPC on their long suffering users, giving MSFT all of the remaining 25%. Palm OS 6 (or Be 2.0 Micro edition) will give handhelds plenty of oomph, but they'll be running on expensive, greedy ARM chips (not trailing edge cheap-as-dirt Dragonballs) and probably ship with no apps. How this will help Palm, I cannot imagine.

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