Palm brand returns to source

PalmOne has announced an agreement with PalmSource to re-acquire the full rights to the brand name Palm. It will also change its company name back to Palm, Inc. later this year, taking it full circle from 1999 when Palm, Inc was initially created by 3Com.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  May 27, 2005

PalmOne has announced an agreement with PalmSource to re-acquire the full rights to the brand name Palm and will also change its company name back to Palm, Inc. later this year. This move effectively takes the company full circle from September 1999, when its then owner, 3Com, created Palm, Inc. as an independent, publicly traded company. The long-standing ‘Palm’ brand name - synonymous with handheld computing thanks to the firm's original Palm 'Pilot' devices - has been co-owned by palmOne and PalmSource since the October 2003 spin-off of PalmSource. PalmOne will now pay PalmSource US $30 million for PalmSource’s 55% share of the Palm Trademark Holding Company. It will also change its company name back to Palm, Inc. later this year and will launch a new Palm logo. Mobile computing products launched after Autumn of this year are expected to feature the new Palm brand name instead of palmOne. As part of the agreement, palmOne has also granted the software arm of the group, PalmSource, and its licensees certain rights to Palm trademarks for a four-year transition period. “The letters P-A-L-M reflect a prized brand with significant customer awareness and earned loyalty,” said Ed Colligan, palmOne president and chief executive officer. “Innovation, power, ease of use, and elegance all are attributes of the brand, and we intend to invest to turn what is a strong name today into a household word synonymous with leadership in mobile computing.” PalmOne’s decision to buy back the Palm brand was a question of timing (the rights to the name were up for grabs), combined with its obviously not wanting another firm to gain access to what has traditionally been a highly recognisable product - and company - moniker. Also, PalmOne recently announced the LifeDrive, which is its first ever mobile storage device. This effectively marks the company’s diversification into a whole new product sector. As such, the move is likely to have more chance of success if the products PalmOne launches can be associated with a well-known, recognisable brand. The history of Palm, Inc., PalmSource and palmOne is a complex one. * The firm is officially founded, as Palm, in 1992. * 1996: Palm launches its ‘Pilot’ handheld computers, which go on to play a major role in kick-starting the mobile computing industry. Indeed, the term ‘Palm Pilot’ becomes a term used to describe almost any handheld computer device (in the days before the acronym PDA was widely adopted). * June 1997: Palm becomes a subsidiary of 3Com Corp. after U.S. Robotics is acquired by 3Com. * September 1999: 3Com announces it will make its Palm subsidiary an independent, publicly traded company. The company becomes independent in March 2000, operating from that point on as Palm, Inc. * October 2003: shareholders of Palm, Inc. vote to spin its PalmSource subsidiary off as a wholly independent company. This decision was - in part - spurred by Palm Inc’s acquisition of Handspring, which led Palm, Inc and Handspring to be rebranded as one combined entity - palmOne, Inc. * May 2005 - PalmOne re-acquires full rights to 'Palm' brand name from PalmSource. Announces plan to rename company back to Palm, Inc. later in year.

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