Palm completes buyout of Be Inc.

Palm Inc. has completed its takeover of Be Inc., gaining a portfolio of operating systems and applications for Internet appliances.

Palm has acquired "substantially all of the intellectual property and other technology assets" of the software company in exchange for US$11 million in Palm stock, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Several Be engineers will join the Palm staff, the company added, fulfilling a pledge made when the takeover was first announced in August.

Be has touted its BeIA (Be Internet Appliance) operating system for its stability, its ability to handle rich multimedia content, and a modular design that allows the OS to be adapted for use in a wide range of devices. BeIA is based on the company's desktop version BeOS, which Be has offered free for download since early last year in a bid to increase its public profile.

Palm called the acquisition a boost to its restructuring strategy, which separates its Palm OS business from a Solutions Group that will sell devices catering to individual and business users. The company hopes the new strategy will help expand its appeal to the lucrative enterprise market.

Once synonymous with handheld computing, Palm has fallen on hard financial times as Microsoft Corp.'s competing Pocket PC operating system has captured the attention of key enterprise customers. Last week Palm's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carl Yankowski resigned, saying the restructuring plan left him unsatisfied with his future role with the company.

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Rick Perera

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