Microsoft-Palm: A timely link (International Herald Tribune)

By Laurie J. Flynn The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO Microsoft’s truce with Palm, its longtime rival in palmtop software, was forged with a rare agreement to allow Palm to tinker with the Windows Mobile software, according to the companies’ leaders.

Details of the new relationship emerged on Monday as Microsoft and Palm unveiled a Windows version of Palm’s popular line of cellphone-organizers, the Treo, in a combined effort to capture a market that has eluded them both: corporate customers.

Until now, the Treo has run only on Palm’s operating system. But the Treo for Windows device, yet to be named, will provide the Windows interface that is the standard in most businesses.

“Customers and carriers have been asking for this,” Palm’s chief executive, Ed Colligan, said.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman, said the companies decided to put their rivalry behind them more than two years ago, when a Palm founder, Jeffrey Hawkins, visited Microsoft to discuss a development and marketing agreement. But Gates said a partnership made no sense until Microsoft was well along in developing Windows Mobile 5.0, which it released in May.

“Palm always did great work,” he said. “We lusted after some of the things they did well and wanted to combine them with some of the things that we did well.” (more…)