PalmOne Denies Pocket PC Rumors - Kind Of

A palmOne spokesperson says its executives were misunderstood but confirms that the company is open to evaluating other operating systems.
Mobile device vendor palmOne Thursday denied a report that its executives had said the company was developing a Pocket PC version of its Treo smartphone. But the company didn't shut the door to such a device.

Shares of PalmSource, which develops the Palm OS used in Treo smartphones, dipped earlier this week after investment banking firm Needham & Co. said that palmOne would develop a Treo device using Microsoft's platform. And while a spokeswoman for palmOne said that the Needham analysts were mistaken, she also left the door open for future developments.

"We don't comment on rumors or speculation," said Marlene Somsak, palmOne's vice president of communications. "But we do believe that the people at Needham misunderstood because nobody from palmOne expressed those sentiments at the analyst meetings."

She added, however, that palmOne is a platform-agnostic company despite its $40 million a year minimum commitment to PalmSource, its one-time corporate sibling. PalmSource develops the Palm OS while palmOne develops handhelds and smartphones.

"We are open to evaluating products using additional operating systems," Somsak said. "That's additional, as in not replacement, if doing so would not grow the marketplace or meet customer needs that aren't being address."

Sales of mobile devices using Microsoft's mobile platform have been catching up and, in some areas, surpassing of Palm OS devices in the enterprise. The Needham report noted that a Pocket PC version of the Treo would strengthen palmOne's hand in the enterprise. The report said that palmOne would continue to sell a Palm OS version of the device.

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