Palm's Be buy: Desperation or keen strategy?

— 1:28 AM on August 17, 2001

So did anyone else think for a while now that the Palm guys looked like they were in too deep with their OS? The thing relies on a fixed overlay template still (save for HandEra's modified edition), for goshsakes. Its color support is a hack job, and the foundation for the OS just doesn't seem to be terribly scalable or extensible. Competing against Microsoft's Windows CE/PocketPC franchise can't be easy, since Microsoft knows a thing or two about OS plumbing, device independence, and the like. Or so it has seemed to me, observing these things from afar, and projecting my own memories of the early MacOS and Apple's stalled attempts to rewrite the OS or to—wait for it—possibly buy up the BeOS instead.

By all accounts, the BeOS is light, fast, multitasks well, and looks snappy. It could become the new foundation for Palm's handhelds. So I'm curious what you all think about this one.

Is Palm's purchase of Be's intellectual property a move of desperation from a company whose software engineering efforts weren't up to the task of transforming the PalmOS into a competitive, modern operating system for portable devices? Or is it just the latest expansionist move from the market and technology leader?

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