PalmSource Inc is strongly placed to take advantage of operator and handset manufacturer worries in the face of Nokia Corp’s planned takeover of mobile operating system rival Symbian Ltd, according to president and CEO, David Nagel.
But the full impact of the takeover may not be felt for several years as a result of long-term licensing contracts
I believe [Nokia’s takeover of Symbian] has an influence on the competitive balance of the industry. For us, on balance, it’s quite a positive event, said Nagel, who was making an impromptu appearance at a follow-up from last week’s PalmSource developer conference in San Jose for UK journalists.
In the short term it won’t have a great effect. The sales cycle [for mobile operating systems] sometimes takes years. And the same goes for de-commitment. Typically, licenses are multi-year, often three to four but even as long as eight or nine years.
But in the long run, every other handset vendor will be asking ‘Do I want to be a licensee of 900 pound gorillas Nokia or Microsoft or maybe someone else?’ Even in the last few weeks it’s been much easier to go to other handset vendors and see if they’re interested in another mobile platform.
Gabi Schindler, senior VP worldwide marketing for PalmSource, added: Why do you think we were spun out? Since we did there’s been a lot more trust towards us from our licensees. They have already been more forthcoming about their product plans.
Mobile operators, too, will play a decisive role in the long term success or otherwise of today’s mobile operating systems. And again, PalmSource is confident it has what it takes to capitalize.
Many operators are very worried about Nokia’s domination of Symbian, said PalmSource VP business development Albert Chu. They don’t want to be beholden to a Nokia/Symbian device or a Microsoft device. They are the ones who will ultimately dictate the critical mass.
With this in mind, PalmSource plans to target the 15 to 20 leading mobile operators around the world with its software.
The company believes it offers particular advantages over its rivals in terms of bringing smart phones to the mass market. Among these is the small size of Palm OS itself, which Nagel said lends itself to high adoption by reducing the cost per unit. We believe because of the small footprint [of Palm OS] that we can get to low price points much faster than other platforms, he said.
Another crucial differentiator for Palm OS in its efforts to attract mobile operators remains PalmSource’s extensive developer network with 20,000 applications currently available that could create new revenue streams for operators through over-the-air download shops.
PalmSource also claimed a 41% advantage over Microsoft’s Windows Mobile for Pocket PC in terms of support call costs. That’s very important for operators. The cost of support calls can kill their margins, said Charlie Tritschler, VP of product marketing.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire