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Bloomberg Reports That Palm Is Up For Sale 240

Posted by timothy
from the handwriting-on-the-wall-is-graffiti dept.
leetrout writes with this excerpt from a story at Bloomberg News "Palm Inc., creator of the Pre smartphone, put itself up for sale and is seeking bids for the company as early as this week, according to three people familiar with the situation."
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Bloomberg Reports That Palm Is Up For Sale

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  • First bid (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:14AM (#31814234)

    I'd buy that for a dollar!

  • BeOS! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fallingcow (213461) on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:16AM (#31814252) Homepage

    AFAIK, Palm still owns BeOS.

    Hopefully whoever buys them does something with it, or sells it to someone who will.

    • Re:BeOS! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cameljockey91 (1455491) on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:24AM (#31814288) Homepage
      Is that really a feasible or even necessary move? BeOS hasn't been developed in over a decade by the original programmers; what relevance does it have now? Palm failed to utilize the OS, and Be Inc. even changed direction away from BeOS before they were bought.
      • Re:BeOS! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Fallingcow (213461) on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:29AM (#31814310) Homepage

        Well, open-sourcing it would qualify as "something" :)

        I'm sure that'd help the folks working on Haiku.

      • Re:BeOS! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Monday April 12, 2010 @03:04AM (#31814436) Journal

        what relevance does it have now?

        The only OS to ever do GUI responsiveness properly?

      • Re:BeOS! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by blind biker (1066130) on Monday April 12, 2010 @03:14AM (#31814490) Journal

        I think BeOS stil has a relevance today, as it beats the pants off any current OS in respnsiveness to The User: any command/mouseclick has the highest priority, file copy be damned. I have tested with many current OSes (even OS X fails this test) start copying a huge file, and see if responsiveness is affected at all. With BeOS, it wasn't - not even the slightest. The file would get copied a few secconds later, if I interact a lot with the UI, but so fucking what?

        What a pleasure it was to use BeOS. For whatever reason, programmers just refuse to create such pleasant-to-use operating systems.

        (I won't relay the often mentioned smoothness of displaying videos and playing MP3s. It's not that important. But it sure is impressive when you can play 30 MP3s at the same time, and some even backwards. Is there ever been an OS that dominated all the others so blatantly? The things BeOS was able to do were simply ridiculous.)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I think BeOS stil has a relevance today, as it beats the pants off any current OS in respnsiveness to The User: any command/mouseclick has the highest priority, file copy be damned. I have tested with many current OSes (even OS X fails this test) start copying a huge file, and see if responsiveness is affected at all. With BeOS, it wasn't - not even the slightest. The file would get copied a few secconds later, if I interact a lot with the UI, but so fucking what?

          That's it? So what?

          How many applications ar

          • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao&hotmail,com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @06:14AM (#31815070) Homepage

            BeOS is dead for a reason.

            Yes, and the reason is: Microsoft bullied PC makers so they would not sell computers with any other OS. See here. [theregister.co.uk]

            People hate Microsoft for a reason.

            • They were still managing to sell quite a few copies. Be could have made a business out of distributing and selling operating systems online. Indeed, that's really the only way Linux got distributed. I thought they were doing a good job of it too.

            • by Nimey (114278)

              No, it's because the BeOS management got greedy when Apple offered to buy the company out. AIUI, Apple gave a fairly generous offer, but at the last minute Be mgt wanted another 20 million, so Apple told them to fuck off & bought NeXT instead.

              NeXT, helmed by Steve Jobs, had a Unix-like operating system that became Mac OS X.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          My understanding was that while BeOS had many advantages such as the one you cited, the companies like Apple that looked at it decided it was going to be harder to hone the OS down into a practical and consumer-friendly operating system, in terms of refining or seamlessly adding on all the services that needed to be there. And we take an incredible amount of services for granted now, such as being able to render everything from HTML to streaming video in many different apps. But if they were missing, they w

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Yup, it was missing a lot of the bloat that's forced down our throats with other OSes and that's why it was so fast and elegant.

            But what was really missing was better driver support and applications.

            Off course, it didn't help that the Be Inc never had the balls to try and compete with Microsoft. First they wanted to make computers (BeBox) then they thought they were going to be bought by Apple. After that, they tried the niche market of audio. In Japan they managed to get BeOS pre-installed on a few machine

          • BeOS came with video playback and web browsing apps - remember that back then the web was really primitive and writing a web browser wasn't a massively complicated undertaking. Apple turned down Be because they thought the company was worth less than Be did - and it turned out that they were right, Be turned down a $50m offer from Apple and ended up taking a $20m offer from Palm. I can't say I'm too disappointed by this - it meant that a load more people got exposed to OpenStep than had been before - but

        • Re:BeOS! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ledow (319597) on Monday April 12, 2010 @04:57AM (#31814816) Homepage

          I do think that current OS's really suffer from the "give me my damn mouse back, let me click that button, don't make me wait for seven thousand services to start up before you let me click the start button that appeared in the first second" syndrome. But that doesn't make an OS, that makes a GUI on top of an OS. The problem is "easily" solved (for a definition of easily) by queueing user events and handling mouse motion / keyboard input in a separate thread (not at all a performance problem with modern machines).

          User reponsiveness is vital, that much I can agree on. I can't wait for the OS that can properly remember and queue user events from the first second so that I can send a list of keystrokes and have it get on with them - I hate when Windows chugs and your button clicks are completely ignored (programmatically, graphically, etc.) and then there's a burst of activity once it's idle again. Ideally, such interaction would be per-application (so non-busy apps would still respond as fast no matter what else was chugging away) - incidentally, window-focus-steals are the worst idea ever invented, whether by the OS or the applications themselves.

          But that's a GUI issue, for the most part. Yes, the OS shouldn't chug that badly in the first place but when it does, the underlying GUI still has millions of cycles in which to respond. It doesn't, because of deep-level order dependencies and other things. The main problem, though, is programs and OS's drawing themselves before they are actually able to respond - I've seen Windows desktop, start bar, etc. appear sometimes MINUTES before the start button can actually be clicked in any useful manner, and that's *completely* pointless and just makes me think that the computer is much slower than it actually is. It's a pain in the arse and all programs should be made to draw to a back-buffer until they are actually ready to respond to user input, and any that don't within 0.5 of a second should be terminated in the style of Windows' "This program has stopped responding".

          The problem is not the OS (though some OS queueing techniques can help desktop interactivity), it's mainly the application side... programs that draw too early, set themselves up piece-meal and serially, draw the user into clicking them before they can respond (what's wrong with greying out any buttons/menus until you *are* ready to respond to them?), don't queue events properly and aren't allocated a high-enough event priority when they are the main-focus app.

          That's not worth an obsolete (sorry, but it is) OS, when it can be fixed by a simple event model and some slightly stricter application requirements. You can't hold an OS responsible if the programs draw themselves, then go through a serial setup and ignore all button presses in between, or when they are busy, etc. Proper multithread use is the main factor. The OS is not.

          • Re:BeOS! (Score:5, Funny)

            by edittard (805475) on Monday April 12, 2010 @05:24AM (#31814908)

            set themselves up piece-meal

            Don't spell piecemeal in a piecemeal way.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            You are wrong.

            The problem is that the disk I/O priority in Windows is done in a (presumably) FIFO kind of way, regardless of which application and thread is performing the request. So when Explorer requests 5 x 10 KB files (the icons for the start menu items) from disk, it has to wait 5-10 seconds before Windows finally delivers because 10 other services currently booting are loading DLLs.

            Suggesting that Explorer should instead have already loaded the icons into memory will not work simply because the user

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          (I won't relay the often mentioned smoothness of displaying videos and playing MP3s. It's not that important. But it sure is impressive when you can play 30 MP3s at the same time, and some even backwards. Is there ever been an OS that dominated all the others so blatantly? The things BeOS was able to do were simply ridiculous.)

          Ah yes.. the first time I ever tried it I managed to open _all_ my MP3s at once (I wasn't very smart back then) and sat there for several minutes - jaw dropped to the floor as all of them (or most, I couln't really make out individual sounds) played at once, my desktop piled up with windows each playing one file.

          And I could still navigate around without getting stuck somewhere... one of the more amazing moments of my (probably too boring) life..

        • Obituary for BeOS (Score:5, Interesting)

          by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Monday April 12, 2010 @06:11AM (#31815060) Homepage
          "I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense - I deserve it."
          -- Jean-Louis Gassée, CEO Be, Inc.
        • The problem with BeOS was that that which made it sweet also made it difficult to program. In Windows and other STA modelled applications, you don't have to worry about your application being pre-empted within the context of a message. BeOS would do that, which is why it was so responsive and so scalable. If you did the cheesy thing and put a locking mechanism around the body of your message handlers, you would effectively cripple what the OS could do with your application and essentially "Windowsify" it

        • You're missing the reason for that responsiveness, which is the real reason BeOS is now more relevant than ever. The entire system was built from the ground up with deeply pervasive multithreading. A hello world app had two or three threads! In the current trend of higher and higher core counts the wisdom of this design philosophy becomes more and more apparent.

          On a side-note: Will the BeOS IP become like the Commodore IP? Will every company that owns it ultimately bankrupt?

          • by Svartalf (2997)

            Heh... Palm bought that OS because they were looking for better answers than they had at the time- and BeOS was flogging itself as an IA (set top internet appliance...) OS at that time. And, for that application, it actually made raftloads of sense- light and lithe, to the point that using goofball chips like the National Semiconductor Geode GX wasn't so much of a disadvantage. Unfortunately for BeOS, the floor fell out of that market (because it wasn't modeled right, coupled with the dot-com bust...) an

        • by timeOday (582209)

          I won't relay the often mentioned smoothness of displaying videos and playing MP3s. It's not that important.

          Sure it is! It turns out getting a PVR to display frame-accurate video to a TV is almost impossible with a multitasking OS. Watch a channel with a stock ticker / other scrolling banner, and you will see, it jumps at times. Go ahead and crank up the priority on X and mplayer (or whatever player you use); it can't do it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, Palm sold BeOS when they sold Palmsource. Besides, BeOS is dead. Everyone will just have to accept that.

      • by Machtyn (759119)
        When Palm sold Palmsource is when Palm signed its death certificate. Or maybe there were some previous decisions for that as well. I know that I'd prefer a phone with no keyboard, but to use a stylus with one stroke letter recognition (not the two stroke abomination that was Grafitti 2).
    • Re:BeOS! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:48AM (#31814386)

      Yeah!

      Now we can have a viable competitor to Hurd!

    • by DrXym (126579)
      BeOS is dead as a dodo. Use instead [haiku-os.org].

      It would be nice if companies opened up their dead operating systems, but often times they would be infected with licenced code, or involve patents and simply it's easier and less effort to keep it closed.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        It's ALWAYS easier and less effort to do nothing and leave a product behind dead.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ducky101 (1005349)

      AFAIK, Palm still owns BeOS.

      No, they don't own it anymore. PalmSource, the owner of PalmOS and BeOS was sold to ACCESS Co. in 2005.
      Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BeOS#History [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:BeOS! (Score:4, Funny)

      by dangitman (862676) on Monday April 12, 2010 @06:01AM (#31815030)

      AFAIK, Palm still owns BeOS.

      Pfffft. Big deal. I still own BeOS, it even came with a nice book. You don't see me trying to sell myself for millions of dollars.

    • by bornagainpenguin (1209106) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:57AM (#31815404)

      AFAIK, Palm still owns BeOS.

      No, that would be ACCESS who own the BeOS code base and who have already blessed the Haiku developers with permission to distribute the BeBook and other assorted documentation. The BeOS code is safe. The Haiku clean room implementation will make it easier to modernize the base for R2 once full BeOS compatibility is reached.

      --bornagainpenguin

    • Does anyone care at this point? Haiku has pretty much caught up with BeOS 5 in all areas, and passed it in others. It's like when the UNIX Version 7 code was released a couple of years back - academically interesting, but no one in their right mind will actually run it in preference to *BSD/Solaris/Linux.
  • Sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jsse (254124) on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:42AM (#31814356) Homepage Journal
    One of their original flagship 'Pilot 5000' is my first PDA, and people can see the immense potential in it - a lightweight programmable widget. Few months after its first launch a guy called Adams set up a website to share homebrew Pilot's applications and games around the world, the era of Palm had since begun. (Regardless of million hits daily, Adams fold his website after marriage, by his wife's order. He should really regret it by now)

    Palm was actually doing good until one day some pinheads in the management decided that sales is more important than technology advancement. It's amazing to see history repeated itself over and over again in tech world.

    Another good line of products ruined by great management decision. Sad, really sad.
    • Re:Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:48AM (#31814382)

      Good business can carry crap tech, even the best tech can't correct for even mediocre business.

      Sad, but that's how it rolls

    • Re:Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Phat_Tony (661117) * on Monday April 12, 2010 @04:05AM (#31814648)
      It's always sad to see a once-great company die, but it's especially sad with Palm right now because they came so close to turning things back around at the last minute, which is rarely the case for long-dying companies. The writing had been on the wall for Palm since before the iPhone even came out, and the mere existence of the iPhone looked like the last nail in the coffin for Palm. Then, stunningly, when it seemed like they'd lost their pulse, Palm come out with an entirely new operating system with some really compelling aspects on a brand new competitive hardware platform. If they'd had a little more capital left to keep up a few rounds of hardware and software revisions, maybe they could still make it. Also, the Pre alone might have saved them if they weren't in one of the fastest-evolving, most competitive consumer electronics markets there's ever been, with the iPhone, Android OS, HTC Hero, Motorola Droid, Blackberry Storm2, etc.

      I still use a Sony Clie PEG-N710C running PalmOS for word-processing on the go. No current smartphone can compete with its docking and folding Stowaway keyboard, its reflective color TFT screen that I can see in direct sunlight at the park or on the beach, Documents to Go to seamlessly sync any word processing documents back and forth with my computer, and the ability to mount its Memory Stick as an external drive via a USB cable with any computer so I can copy my files to others on the go. Of course, it would get killed by modern devices on nearly any other task, but for ultra-portable word processing, it still kills anything else I've found.
      • by timeOday (582209)
        Glad you should mention the Clie, since it brings in both Sony and Palm, maybe the two biggest should-have-beens of this decade. In 2004 or so I got this Clie TH55 [cnet.com]. It had the same slate design the iPhone would later use to storm the market. The Clie had a big, high-res screen (relatively); had wifi, a camera. Everything you needed to get really creative making apps. (It wasn't a cellphone, then again neither is the iPhone touch).

        Sadly, the whole thing was let down terrible by the outdated Palm OS. A

    • Re:Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Monday April 12, 2010 @04:39AM (#31814768) Journal

      Another good line of products ruined by great management decision. Sad, really sad.

      Remember that next time anyone complains that CxOs are overpaid. Good ones really are worth their money (yeah, the bad ones really aren't, but you can say the same about engineers).

  • by melted (227442) on Monday April 12, 2010 @03:00AM (#31814426) Homepage

    I'd say it looks better than iPhone OS, and that says something. I hope HTC (or Lenovo, or someone else competent) buys them (and their substantial patent portfolio) and makes an iPad competitor based on WebOS, just to piss off Apple. Steve Jobs will be livid -- any lawsuit will only bring an equal and opposite countersuit, and the software is Apple quality (indeed, much of it was written by ex-Apple engineers and designed by ex-Apple designers), which makes it twice as painful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by failedlogic (627314)

      The tentativeness of this 'news' seems important. Goes up on a Sunday before markets open. I'd hate to say it, I wouldn't put it past a competitor to drop a rumor like this as a kick in the nuts.

      The iPad competitor based on WebOS has me chuckling and dreaming of the possibilities. Steve will be so livid to see this happen I'll be LOL'ing.

      Its too bad some cell phones are locked down so much. If price for WebOS wouldn't be so bloody high, would make a really nice project to open source.

    • by ProppaT (557551) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:09AM (#31815488) Homepage

      WebOS is by far the best mobile OS on the market. It's still young and still has its problems, but the GUI is as beautiful as it is useful. The "type anything anywhere" concept is beautiful. You want to set an alarm and can't remember that you do that in the clock ap and you don't remember where it is? That's fine...type in alarm from anywhere in the UI and it'll show you the clock icon. It handles multitasking well, looks miles better than anything else on the market, and the best part....there's a backdoor purposely left in for us nerd types to install unapproved apps, overclock the processor, etc. Palm did everything right with WebOS except the marketing.

      My first choice for a purchaser would be HTC. They could take their form factors they were designing for Windows Mobile phones, dump WebOS on it, and have market penetration nearly over night. They're going to have to have new designs/concepts for WM7 soon anyway. Either way, there's going to be a bidding war for Palm because of all the patents they hold. The WORST possible thing that could happen would be Apple buying them for the patents and dissolving the software.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:26AM (#31815634) Journal
        You know what's really depressing about your post? These 'amazing' features that you describe were present on the Newton 15 years ago. Unfortunately, Apple takes NIH to extremes and won't use something invented here but in a different building, so the iPhone lacks them all.
        • by ProppaT (557551) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:36AM (#31815704) Homepage

          Yeah, but you're talking about Apple, not Apple. Two distinctly different companies. Apple was a fantastic company that looked to do interesting new things and push concepts and technology. Apple is a company that is so in love with their own vision that they purposely leave out important features if they get in the way of this vision. Palm is/was a great company because they've always had a vision and always pushed the vision, but they've always been realistic about their limitations and mixed a little bit of Apple A with a little bit of Apple B.

          But you're absolutely right, Job's has a major NIH issue and it's honestly a shame.

  • Too bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frist (1441971) on Monday April 12, 2010 @03:09AM (#31814464)
    That's a shame, the Palm Pre really is a nice phone, I prefer it to the iPhone. WebOS is nicer, and the native SDK is out now. The browsing experience was comparable when I compared iphone to pre. And it has a real keyboard that pops out. They totally blew the ads though, those horrible TV ads w/the weird chick going "oh wait, I just did that" - most likely alienated many potential customers. I know the freaked me out.
  • more than 3 is chaos (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nohumor (1735852)
    buy out of palm will be great move if it leads to consolidation of mobile OSes. as of now, we have OS X, android, symbian, winmo, blackberry, webOS, etc... typically most industry have 3 big guys, that is the case for desktop too - win, mac, linux. i think blackberry should buy out palm. blackberry makes solid devices but lack the gee-whiz factor which webOS and ex-apple employees at palm can bring. nokia in turn should buy out blackberry to create a platform which is solid, functional and cool.
    • by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix.gmail@com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @05:06AM (#31814842)

      Then HTC should buy out Nokia to combine great touchscreen hardware with a solid/cool/functional platform, and then LG should buy out HTC and put cool blinking lights [youtube.com] and win back the teenage girl market. But by then the phone would have lost their business market so they would have to spin off their business-oriented smart phone division (formerly Blackberry). Of course, former Nokia employees would be pissed that LG is creating flip phones and using touchscreens so they all rage quit and form their own phone company that focuses on simple-to-use candy-bar and slider phones. Also because of the flip phone format, touchscreen user-friendliness would be rendered nearly useless, so LG would spin off their touch division (formerly HTC).

      Are we done speculating now?

  • What a coincidence... 10+ years of my collected Palm gadgets [gnu-designs.com] are up for sale too.. make me an offer :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's a sweet couch man, I'll give you £35 for it!

  • i have it with me. kept in my old drawer. even though its b/w touchscreen is old, and the cpu is 21Mhz, it was still very good. it had all the customizability my e71 has and had a very painless ui. indeed, it was better than the s60 ui in 5800.
    i have never used the pre because its cdma, there's no decent cdma network here. and of course palm did not launch it outside the us.
    • I've been a Palm user for close to a decade (Palm IIIxe, Handera 330, Treo 650), and it's sad to see Palm go. The IIIxe has 8MB RAM and a 16MHz CPU, but it's still responsive and usable (and the batteries last for no trace of weeks). Palm knew what the heck they were doing, technically. The Treo didn't have true multitasking, but the actual UI layout was very carefully thought out and usable. But I got a Droid a couple weeks ago and I'm not looking back. Migrating my data to either Android or WebOS would b
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12, 2010 @03:35AM (#31814552)

    I live in a rich country in Europe. Palm will not take my money to buy a Pre, over a year after its introduction.

    I hope Palm will serve as an example to companies: If you introduce a product whose sales are uncertain, you need to sell it worldwide as soon as possible, otherwise you are just turning down peoples money.

    Palm: Great Engineers, Rubbish Marketeers.

    • I am a T-Mobile subscriber in the U.S. and Palm wouldn't take my money either. I decided shortly after getting a G1 that I'd keep it until there was an unlocked Pre-Plus that supported T-Mobile 3G freqs. That magical device never appeared so I purchased an N1.
  • by cyberzephyr (705742) on Monday April 12, 2010 @04:26AM (#31814716) Journal

    I thought the band U2 had a stake in Palm?

  • From the summary:

    Palm Inc., creator of the Pre smartphone

    A few (million) people own devices that Palm made prior to the Pre...

  • Motorola has always made crappy software for cell phones. If they bought Palm they'd have some first rate software development they could leverage. Somebody whose big in hardware but struggling with software should buy them. Android is not going to be a good differentiator by itself. You still need to have good software skills. Compare HTC's Android UI with the Droid. I'll take HTC's work over Motorola's any day. Apparently Apple agrees which is why they are suing them.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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