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HTC Walks From Palm Bid, Will Lenovo Step Up? 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the palm-rejected-out-of-hand dept.
MojoKid writes "Earlier in the month, it was reported that Palm was being shopped around. At that time, two of the main potential suitors were HTC and Lenovo. HTC obviously felt like the best fit. Lately, HTC has shown that it has a penchant for creating fantastic hardware, but it has to rely on Google and Microsoft for software. It seemed as if buying Palm would give HTC the power they needed to move ahead as a standalone unit, pairing HTC hardware with the WebOS mobile operating system. Apparently, that's not going to happen. Based on a new report out of Asia, HTC has declined to place an official bid on Palm, leaving Lenovo as the only other potential buyer at the moment."
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HTC Walks From Palm Bid, Will Lenovo Step Up?

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  • To be honest Palm never really got off the ground in any major way. I don't see why HTC would want anything to do with that mess anyway.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You must have never used WebOS or any previous Palm PDAs :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I don't think HTC or any other handset maker is a good fit for Palm. Portions of the Palm IP would just get absorbed into their existing products and quickly lost to the ages.

      IMHO Cisco would be a good suitor for Palm. Cisco has international manufacturing & distribution, a lot of hardware/software/networking experience, plenty of consumer & corporate products history with their own brand, Linksys and now Flip, and Palm would be a well established brand name and technology base for Cisco to branc
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      Two words: "Palm Pilot"

      For a long time, EVERY PDA was called a Palm Pilot, they pretty much defined the category.

      Now Lenovo has Palm in the palm of their hands ...

      • Re:Good on HTC (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sunderland56 (621843) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @10:48AM (#31967398)

        For a long time, EVERY PDA was called a Palm Pilot, they pretty much defined the category.

        And then time moved on. Stand-alone PDAs don't exist any more, HTC is a major player in the smartphone world, and Palm is a failing company.
        When the Model T arrived, it pretty much defined its category. Don't see them around much any more.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MartinSchou (1360093)

          Stand-alone PDAs don't exist any more

          Neither do phones really. When's the last time you saw a cell phone that ONLY did phone calls and text messages?

          Even the ones I have that don't have a camera have a contact book (semi-phone related), calendar (not phone related), a couple of games, and an alarm clock.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by tomhudson (43916)

            Neither do phones really. When's the last time you saw a cell phone that ONLY did phone calls and text messages?

            1. Take fancy phone
            2. Drop in toilet
            3. Repeat until phone only makes and receives phone calls ..

            Just saying ... we have the technology to FLUSH away those extra bits that get in the way of basic functionality :-)

            I wonder how long today's better batteries and lower-power circuits would run on a "basic" phone ... maybe get a month of stand-by and a full day of talk-til-you-drop? There might be a mark

            • by rfuilrez (1213562)

              Actually, the last time I accidentally went swimming with my phone in my pocket the exact opposite happened. Every function of the cell phone still worked, except the ability to use the network. Phone and Data no longer worked. The shitty thing was, right after I got out of the water and noticed, it still worked. For an hour or so while it was still wet everything worked. The next morning after I had let it dry out with the battery and sim/microSD card and battery cover off, the network didn't work. It wou

              • by Daengbo (523424)

                Next time, throw it in a bag of rice really quickly and leave it there for a few days. Ir you could seal it with a bunch of those silica bags that you're not supposed to eat.

                • Wait, really? Why? What does throwing it in a bag of rice accomplish exactly?
                  • Rice helps absorb the moisture introduced to the device, reducing the chance of a short.

                    Whenever an electronic device is soaked in something wet, the best response is it turn it off, remove the battery, open it if possible, and let it dry for a day or two. GP continued using, and that's why it eventually broke.

            • I wonder how long today's better batteries and lower-power circuits would run on a "basic" phone ... maybe get a month of stand-by and a full day of talk-til-you-drop? There might be a market for that.
              Might I recommend you get a jitterbug? It even comes in 3 colors: black, red, white.
              • by tomhudson (43916)

                I wonder how long today's better batteries and lower-power circuits would run on a "basic" phone ... maybe get a month of stand-by and a full day of talk-til-you-drop? There might be a market for that.

                Might I recommend you get a jitterbug? It even comes in 3 colors: black, red, white.

                It's nowhere near that [cnet.com] - only 3 hours of talk time. 8 days standby. Lots of phones beat that while still offering all sorts of other features.

          • by Espectr0 (577637)

            Neither do phones really. When's the last time you saw a cell phone that ONLY did phone calls and text messages?

            Every day. Just because they don't get much publicity, doesn't mean they don't exist. Even the first nokia phones came with the snake game though.

            • Snakes???
              Snakes on a phone??

              My first Nokia phone had no such diversions.

              It didn't even have a clock.
              It was cool that I could use both Rogers (then called Cantel) and Telus by just swiching from the first NAM to the second NAM.

              And it could be used as a weapon far more easily than these RAZRs that people are carrying around these days.

            • by not flu (1169973)

              Even the first nokia phones came with the snake game though.

              Not even close! Snake was introduced in 1999. First Nokia GSM phones were made in 1991, but the first Nokia hand held cell phones were made in the 80s. Of course their history of making portable phones goes back much further yet.

          • by jonbryce (703250)

            My 12 year old Alcatel brick had a contact book and an alarm clock. That's nothing new.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cyber-vandal (148830)

          The company that produced them has had a pretty good run though.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Giometrix (932993)
          "Stand-alone PDAs don't exist any more"

          True,now we call them "ipads"
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Locutus (9039)
          one big problem was that when the press and marketing moved beyond PDA's, there was nothing between them and the latest smartphones. Microsoft was basically paying companies to make PocketPC devices and they were unreliable and huge from extended batteries to get all day usage from them. The phones had way too small of a display so they didn't have the application usage value the PDA had or todays smartphones. There was about a 7 year dearth of a valid replacement for the PDA.

          This is probably why you'll se
          • The thing that killed the PDA is that Microsoft mindfucked (sorry, there's no better term) the vendors into believing that PDA users truly needed some such abortions as pocket Excel and Pocket Word. Once they accepted that, Windows Mobile was assumed of course, since those apps don't run on anything else. This very experience - define the scope, own the scope, kill the scope should give us pause about adopting Microsoft's mobile offerings in the future.

            It's not about the widget - it's about the opportuni

            • The low requirements, performance and reliability

              I meant that to say: "The low requirements, high performance and reliability"

              But slashdot doesn't allow me to edit my posts - which I usually like. Dammit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Abreu (173023)

      Alas, poor Palm

      After having an almost complete domination of the PDA market, they could have blazed new trails into the, then virgin, smartphone territory.

      However, they slept on their laurels and after a certain point they stopped all serious development, and they even spinned off their software division.

      After a while, they came up with new and fantastic software (WebOS), but it was too late...

      Palm is right now only worth what their PDA&Smartphone patents could bring to the legal departments of Google a

    • Palm's implementation of multi-tasking is the best on any smartphone.
      • Apparently, the free market of consumers has put no value on this aspect of Palm.
      • by Kurt4sho (1797180)
        Pre obviously failed to live up to all the expectations piled up on it when it first came out with the Palm Pre. The lackluster marketing should be blamed. I owned a Palm Pre at one point and it sucked not having a phone able to record video. That ability didnt come until the 3rd software update.
    • Re:Good on HTC (Score:4, Interesting)

      by obarthelemy (160321) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @11:18AM (#31967580)

      It seems Palm could not market water to the thirsty.

      The Palm Pilot was the first successful PDA. I'm still using my TX, because it is so reliable and convenient. I'm still looking for as good an experience with smartphones.
      The LifeDrive was everything the iPod is, minus the iTunes store, sexy ads, and "nano" option. Fatal oversights, it seems.
      The Foleo was a netbook, a couple of years before netbooks took off.
      The Treos are basically BlackBerrys without the push mail and the "pro" cachet.
      And finally, the Pre has the snazziest mobile OS to this day, but glitchy hardware, and lame ads and distribution.

      In the end, it seems to me that Palm got lots of things right, and systematically failed at key final steps. Advertising and distribution certainly, and also that extra feature that would really have made people sit up and notice that they needed the gizmos. I'll be sad to see them go, what a waste.

      • by DMoylan (65079)

        >The Palm Pilot was the first successful PDA

        in the us perhaps. otherwise you would have to list the psion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_3 [wikipedia.org]

        every accountant, architect i dealt with seemed to have one of these or even the earlier psion ii. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Organiser [wikipedia.org]

        > The Foleo was a netbook, a couple of years before netbooks took off.

        psion owned the name netbook, the psion 7 was by any definition you could use, a netbook. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_PLC#Psion_and_the_term [wikipedia.org]

        • I don't quite agree about the 3. I briefly had a Psion 3, it's quite different from a Pilot / PDA. It really tried to mimic a (smaller) full PC, with Office apps, lots of keyboard use... it only fit in very large pockets. I understand how many people liked it a lot, especially when you had to actually type a lot, including numbers. For contact / calendar / to-do list and later music / video playing, it really was not that hot. I think the Psion 3 and the Palm Pilots really fall in different categories.

          You'r

          • by DMoylan (65079)

            i suppose we were using it for different tasks. i used the psions as a pc replacement. couldn't afford a laptop but managed to do all the things i wanted on the psions.

            had a psion 3a, 3c, 5, 5mx. there were things i could do with the software that i struggle to do on more modern systems. the agenda and data app were extraordinarily flexible. i could set an recurring appointment that occurred on the last saturday of every second month. iphone, palm, symbian, google calender on android can't do this. o

      • by Fnkmaster (89084)

        The Treos were the best smartphones on the market in their day (i.e. around 2003). Especially with Chattermail, the awesome push email app for Treo that used IMAP IDLE and worked with no added infrastructure for the vast majority of users. Still a far superior email device to the iPhone today.

        The Treo 600/650 could do basically everything a Blackberry could do, and a whole lot more. I loved my 650. Every geek had one back in the day.

        The problem is they let their platform basically go unchanged for 8 yea

        • by rwa2 (4391) *

          Yeah, I'm still using my Palm TX since I haven't seen anything better yet :P Android has a crappy address book. N900 doesn't have GMM. iPhone comes with the Apple straightjacket.

          Waited for the Palm Pre, but they tried too hard to be like apple - with the lack of SD card and their following suit with the the restrictive app store.

      • The Foleo was a netbook, a couple of years before netbooks took off.

        Correction: a couple of months before (it announced in May 2007, the EEEPC was released in October 2007, took off almost immediately and defined the category). And it was only ever a netbook in the same way that Duke Nukem Forever was a game.

      • IMHO some categories of consumers have more use for "standalone" PDA's than convergent devices (Doctors, coaches and PE teachers come to mind. You can include any group that need to access & input information during their job more than make/take calls). This is not to say that the phone part of the convergent device isn't good to have, but as a person who coaches, I have more need for databases and note-taking from my device than multi-tasking...though how the PRE does it is too sweet.

        I'm still using my

        • The Pre is slated for release in France this month or next. That's GSM, as all of Europe. By law, operators and shops pretty much HAVE to sell unlocked versions alongside subsidized, locked handsets (which operators, also by law, have to unlock for free 6 months into your contract if you request it).

          Electronics usually is a bit cheaper in the UK or Germany, though. Reliable French stores are:
          www.phonehouse.com
          www.materiel.net (my favorite, very trystworthy though a tad more expensive)
          www.fnac.com (very larg

  • Offensive (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    From the article:

    "The OS is so simple a grandmother could use it"

    As a 49 yo grandmother, feminist, and C programmer of 20 years I find that offensive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As an insensitive male chauvinist pig douchebag, I find you offensive.

    • by 5pp000 (873881) *
      I would agree with you ... but I can't actually find the quote in either article linked from the summary. Where did you see it, exactly?
  • The whole.. "but it has to rely on Google and Microsoft for software" is an overstatement.. They are pretty good at developing some software on their own.. Android changed the game.. and they are in a comfortable position, and hardly "dependent" on Google. The relationship seems to be a good one, and both benefit.
  • by h00manist (800926) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @09:49AM (#31967070) Journal
    Do we really want more incompatible software "platforms" than acronyms in our alphabet soup? Does anyone have the courage to stand up and say "compatibility requires talk on standards"?
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @10:00AM (#31967134)

      Do we really want more incompatible software "platforms" than acronyms in our alphabet soup? Does anyone have the courage to stand up and say "compatibility requires talk on standards"?

      I'm not seeing how your comment applies. WebOS uses rich HTML applications on top of Webkit. So anything that runs on it can easily be made to run on the iPhone and Android. Palm's recent forays into OS and software development have been very standards compliant and interoperable.

  • by Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @09:54AM (#31967092)

    Sure, HTC buys and OS from MS to put on *some* of it's phones. If you've been watching, that number has been dropping to zero lately.

    HTC does get Android from Google, but that's FOSS, so they are not beholden at all to Google for that...

    I've worked with the folks at HTC, they're bright and highly motivated... Any interest that they've got in Palm is NOT because they need an OS to run.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      Please talk to them and see if they can release any helpful API and hardware information to the folks working on getting Android working on the WinMo phones (Touch, Diamond, etc). It works, but getting a decent battery life out of them without that info requires tedious reverse engineering. I used to think Windows Mobile was tolerable until I tried Android ...
    • by masmullin (1479239) <masmullin@gmail.com> on Saturday April 24, 2010 @11:42AM (#31967736)

      HTC does get Android from Google, but that's FOSS, so they are not beholden at all to Google for that

      I think you have an over inflated sense of Google's benevolence when it comes to Android. While most Android is open sourced there are key components needed by cellphones which are not (eg. the radio protocol stack).

      Android isn't like Ubuntu where you can download all the source, compile it, and install it on any old x86 system. Android requires special knowledge, special proprietary components, and special tools to run on a cellphone. If you doubt this, I dare you to install android on your mobile phone.

      When it comes to a phone producer like HTC, the difference between google and microsoft probably isn't all that much. HTC probably has source access to winMo for it's windows mobile phones, and can probably edit that source code w/o having to push it's changes back up to M$. With Google, HTC probably has less red tape to getting updated source patches.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537)

        If you doubt this, I dare you to install android on your mobile phone.

        Wasn't there a story recently about a guy who successfully installed Android on his iPhone? Or did that guy have special proprietary knowledge?

        • An install doesn't equate to having full functionality. It also may mean some hacking together of other software, like a radio protocol stack, into Android to use with the iPhone.
        • Did he make phone calls? I *Know* that the radio protocol stack for CDMA based phones is QCOMM proprietary, I am unsure if there is an open sourced 3gpp radio stack.

          A iPhone w/o a radio protocol stack is just an iPod.

          And yes... he must have had special knowledge/tools simply to get his aPod.

          • Well, he did not make the calls from the iPhone but he could receive text messages and phone calls and the voice comm really worked

          • Video here [youtube.com].

            I haven't watched it through again to answer your question, but I think I remember him sending SMS messages and implying that he could use the 3G network.

            • by cheekyboy (598084)

              sending an SMS using any 2g/3g device is as simple as a few AT commands down a serial line. Hardly a complex radio stack.

              infact, mobile only boards are usually quite easy to interface with, the radio stack as such is in the chip, not in the client.

        • If you doubt this, I dare you to install android on your mobile phone.

          Wasn't there a story recently about a guy who successfully installed Android on his iPhone? Or did that guy have special proprietary knowledge?

          Android runs fine on the openmoko.

      • You're right, HTC does have access to the WinMo stuff on top of the CE layer. The DO make edits to run their own "Sense" customizations on top of the WinMo base. You are not correct about Android though...the Android code is out there for anyone to download. It IS like Ubuntu in that you can get the base OS and stuff it onto anything. It takes moderately more skill than building your own kernel for the PC, but it's there and easily within reach for a company like HTC. The only stuff that Google cares a

        • the Android code is out there for anyone to download

          not all of it. if you have a cdma based phone, you cannot get an open sourced radio protocol stack. I would expect that there is hardware specific code that is proprietary too.

          It IS like Ubuntu in that you can get the base OS and stuff it onto anything.

          If that were true you would see a lot more phones running the android system as techno geeks would be very interested in hacking this onto their nokias and iPhones and other devices.

          Seriously... I'd love to put Android onto my old PSP! just guide me to how!

          Im not an expert on android, but it looks to me that Android isn't so much ab

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mTor (18585)

      Big issue with Android is that it doesn't come with patent indemnity clause so when you use it, you have zero protection from lawsuits (as HTC has found out with Apple smackdown). MS provides indemnification with their Windows 7 Mobile.

      Since HTC passed on the deal, and they actually had use for extra patents, that tells us that Palm's patent portfolio is not that strong.

  • A diverse ecosystem is good in theory but in practice I would rather the divergent choices competing against RIM and Apple (forget MS for the time being) congeal enough to encourage an alternative with significant App Mind Share.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)

      Why?

      I'm pretty sure that there are only about 100 apps that are really nice to have available on a phone, and more and more of them are going to be built into the base install. The rest are variations, or stupid.

      I guess for developers it is nice to have a limited number of targets, but for users, the difference between 5,000 apps in the store and 50,000 apps in the store is pretty much nil. Especially users who don't need to install an app to use a web site.

  • I am planning on buying an HTC phone because it is good hardware with FOSS on it.
  • Palm's patents (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Palm's patents are what perhaps would have been interesting for HTC I think, not WebOS. Android sells well.

    • by Abreu (173023)

      I would have thought that Palm's smartphone and PDA patents would be perfect for their legal defense against Apple...

      I am sure Palm should have a "mix telephone with handheld computer" patent from the old Handspring days...

      • by HunterD (13063)

        As a former Vonage employee, watching HTC step away from a treasure trove of patents that can be used to defend itself against Apple frankly scares the crap out of me. I really like my HTC phone and I really like Android, and Apple seems bent on destroying it all through the court system instead of facing some real competition in the market.

        I've been there when companies dogpile on to try and kill you with legal means. It very nearly took out Vonage, I really hope it doesn't kill Android as well.

        A palm pu

  • With the impending crApple litigation, one could assume that arming themselves with some "patent investments" would be top priority for HTC.

    That being said, I think HTC is fine making phones for Android and WM6/7/etc. In fact, I wonder if one day HTC will make Maemo/Meego phones...

    • The price on Palm will continue to decline until somebody thinks the price is cheap enough for the patents. It's not prudent to overpay, and today the price is too high for just the patents.
    • by Xest (935314)

      Perhaps HTC is just pretty certain that Apple doesn't really have much of a case? There could be a number of reasons HTC doesn't care about that:

      - It's certain it's own patent portfolio is strong enough to push a counter-suit

      - The Apple patents in the suit hardly seem very solid. They all seemed quite ripe for prior art defences and that sort of thing.

      - They are the same patents Apple is using against Nokia, so perhaps they have been speaking to Nokia about it, or simply expect Nokia to destroy Apple's clai

  • HTC has a winner with Android: it's great software, it's free, and if they want to customize it, they can do that too.

    Palm doesn't have a lot of developers. The few UI elements in Palm that don't exist in Android are easy to replicate. And you can already program Android in JavaScript.

  • by Blazarov (894987) <blazarov&mail,bg> on Saturday April 24, 2010 @10:40AM (#31967340)
    There were some speculations that HTC has interest in Palm mainly due to Palm's patent portfolio. Given the upcoming court fight with Apple, it would probably have been nice for HTC to have as much patents as possible in order to get more leverage in the case. HTC's decision most certainly comes after looking at Palm's books, and since they have decided to pass the offer, maybe this means it's not all rainbows and butterflies at the Palm HQ? Coincidentally, yet another Palm exec left (the VP of carrier marketing), and there was also a rumor that even Robinstein himself was abandoning ship (although he allegedly denied this). This all kind of points that Palm may have a very serious problem. I'm not sure what will happen if Lenovo walks away too... On the technical side, it would have been interesting to see WebOS on some of the high-end hardware HTC has released lately. On the other hand, I'm not sure that yet another OS to support is the best thing for HTC, with WM, Android, and the emerging Brew thing...
  • Not only because Sony made their own PalmOS devices for quite some time, so there would be some continuity.

    Sony Ericsson doesn't seem to have much trouble with using quite a lot of platforms at the same time. AFAIK there are "Sagem platform" low-end phones, SE A200 "featurephones" (though it isn't clear why they aren't called smartphones), and on top of that SE doesn't have problems introducing new advanced devices based on Symbian and Android and WinMob. Plus I wouldn't be surpised if they have something b

  • Palm will be sold only for the brand name, though the patents, WebOS & such will go with it.

    It takes years to establish a new brand and a buyer like Lenovo could launch an Android based Palm in short order.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Palm will be sold only for the brand name, though the patents, WebOS & such will go with it.

      It takes years to establish a new brand and a buyer like Lenovo could launch an Android based Palm in short order.

      And even though Lenovo is incorporated in Hong Kong, it is effectively based in Beijing and is 41.5% owned by Legend Holdings; Legend Holdings is based in Beijing and was founded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (the Chinese government), and is 100% owned by Chinese-controlled operations: 36% the Academy, 35% what appears to be an ESOP, and 29% China Oceanwide Holdings.

      PDAs/smartphones or their successors are going to be ubiquitous, and there are reasons other than direct sales profit for a company like L

  • by Anonymous Coward

    WebOS simply has no momentum. I don't see any company paying top dollar for it. Furthermore, HTC would have taken on huge risk with WebOS, in exchange for dissing its current allies Google and Microsoft.

    The only way Lenovo gets involved is if the PRC decides China needs its own smartphone platform for national security reasons. This has merit but I don't see Lenovo willing to pay much. If WebOS is what Lenovo wanted--which is debatable--they could clone it easy enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's recent move toward Linux on their Pre device seem to position them perfectly to build a device like this [wikimedia.org]. For some reason, OLPC dropped support for what appears to be a killer form factor- one that matches real world printed books. Even though there have been some setbacks, probably due to the recession and technology saturation, I still think form could become a dominant affordable device. It could fullfill the potential promise of the hype behind the iPad rollout. One thing that a "book" form factor

  • Too many HTC phones, including mine, rely on crappy clunky WinMo 6.1 and 6.5. Which is insane because WinMo has about 7% of the PDA phone OS market. And Win7 on phones is going to be more of the same junk. So it's either Google or Blackberry. And Blackberry is never going to open up their stuff for other phones. Never. That leaves Google. If you were a phone would you buy Palm to go up against Google? Why? That seems like a stupid idea.

    • But HTC also sell Android phones. My wife thinks her HTC Magic is a fantastic phone. I don't see her going back to Nokia any time soon. So yes, HTC can drop WinMo but android will be the winner there.

      • by anarche (1525323)

        I'm with your wife on that one.

        I love my little Magic (currently one of the very few android phones in oz), and am waiting impatiently for the Nexus One or Desire to be released down under...

    • There are many people out there who do like Windows Mobile (not WM7, that is).

      • by gelfling (6534)

        But the point is that not enough people like it. It's market share in the phone space is very small.

        • In Europe the market share of Windows Mobile is higher, although not as high as it was. Still higher as Android, though.

  • It's fascinating to see how different the telecom industry is with the device manufacturing industry. The wireless telecom market especially is dominated by the two behemoths of Verizon and AT&T. There's such a severe lack of competition that they can get away with setting similar prices and skimping on service.

    AT&T tripled their annual profits from $4 billion to $12 billion from 2005-2008. This was coupled with a drastic drop in infrastructure investment in both their wireline and wireless net

  • Maybe palm would be so kind as to open BeOS code to the public
    before they merge.

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