This blog is hosted in Austria, a country with intact press freedom for tech journalists. Fenwick&West LLP employees are advised not to contact me as I may have to turn to the Federal Press Agency due to intimidation concerns…

Dmitry Grinberg, the developer of a variety of system extensions for Palm OS, has just received a cease-and-desist letter from Palm’s legal department regarding his use of the Palm trademark on his web site and in conjunction with PalmSDHC.

IMHO, it was only a question of time until Palm would use a bogus claim to turn against Dmitry for a simple reason: his programs allow users to use their aging Palm OS hardware in a seasonable fashion. A person who uses PalmSDHC will be able to continue using his TX or T3 for the upcoming future; seeing that the screen whine/digitizer drift issues are also software-fixable.

Palm makes a huge loss here: usually, people with a drifting digitizer will upgrade their handheld swiftly, seeing that a repair costs almost as much as a new device nowadays. So, for Palm, the existence of Dmitry Grinberg’s products is a huge pain in the butt…which they have now tried to put an end to.

However, the implications of this issue should not be ignored – it IMHO will also affect an unnamed but hotly-anticipated web browser for Palm OS. Its developer has been a Palm employee for quite some time; and I am pretty sure that palm will be able to persuade him to discontinue the product stating a bogus technical or personal reason (be advised that sulking in response to this article is a possible reason).

Cutting a long story short: developers should be extremely wary of their relationship to the boys in Orange. The Palm OS has been declared dead inside Palm’s; Palm OS customers are seen as fossils with whom no further revenue can be generated until they buy a new device. Thus, killing them off ASAP is a high-priority thing. I would not be surprised to find a variety of recommended-breakage points inside the Centro as to limit its useful life span.

Palm’s next problem is its upcoming Nova OS. Seeing that the company IMHO is not able to survive on Windows Mobile devices alone, the operating system is needed to differentiate its products from others. However, nobody except existing Palm nuts will feel like switching to Nova…but Palm nuts will not switch until their hardware breaks down (or the OS offers ground-breaking new features, which I dare to question seeing that it hasn’t even booted so far as to my sources).

Cutting a long story short: Palm must make its existing users lives as miserable as possible in order to stay alive on a long-term perspective. Developers who create applications that prolong the life span of existing devices should expect resistance from Palm in all ways possible…as should customers who expect customer care after the warranty period…

What do you think?

P.S. Dmitry Grinberg’s new site is called!

Related posts:

  1. Dmitry Grinberg on compiler efficiency
  2. Dmitry Grinberg evaluating PocketPC…so what?
  3. Unfragment by Dmitry Grinberg
  4. Dmitry Grinberg makes headlines with Linux port for 8bit MCU
  5. Experiments by Dmitry Grinberg

8 Responses to “Why Dmitry Grinberg got attacked by Palm”

  1. I must say, you are being very paranoid. Palm is not beyond its rights to defend its own name… Especially when another party is using said name to make money. The logical course of action would be to try to make a deal with palm, or change the names of the products involved to avoid infringing on palm’s trademark. What palm is doing is fairly standard, we see companies suing to defend their trademarks all the time.

  2. I have some thoughts:

    1. Is this proof that Nova will not have backwards compatibility with Palm apps?

    2. Is Palm going to try to kill Styletap next?

    3. Why did the buy the Palm OS source code, to kill the operating system?

    4. Clone the Palm OS underground, and call it PLM OS, and add some improvements over the original, and when its finished or near finished, throw it out in the open. I’ll learn C better now…

    5. Way to go Palm, killing off your platform before nobody even knows anything about your NEXT one, if Nova was successful, and pulled them out of the hole they are in, then maybe I can see why they would abandon Palm OS.

  3. Though Palm’s move against Dmitry is highly objectionable, to suggest that there’s a large conspiracy at work here seems slightly over the edge.

    I think Palm could’ve opted for a friendlier way, such as requiring Dmitry to display a disclaimer stating his non-affiliation with Palm. Sending cease-and-desist letters to your developers is akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

  4. I completely agree with the opinion made in this article. It’s obvious that palm it’s not interested in keeping palm OS products alive because they get much more significant profits from people buying a new phone. And it’s not only palm, but a lot of companies that discourage people to maintain their products in order to make them to buy new ones. The main idea here it’s to change your device at least each 2 years in order to sell, and people that help others to resist this cycle it’s not profitable for the company. The trademark thing it’s nothing but a excuse in order to bother dmitry and try to stop him from developing. I wouldn’t be surprised if dmitry gets more serious attacks soon from palm. This it’s the same mentality that apple has: New it’s good, no sense in keeping the old, if you do, you don’t worth the effort. That plain simple.

    In my opinion, what made a palm different from other systems was the palm os simple way of use. If palm kills the palm os and Nova it’s not as good as it’s predecessor, I’ll be choosing another company with more respect with the customer.

  5. The article does does a bit paranoid at first.

    However, keep in mind PalmPowerups has existed for over 5 years. Palm Inc. and Dmitry have been in friendly contacts for those many years; Dmitry even has written email proof of this. The only thing that could’ve spurred the legal letter he got would’ve been his highly-publicized PalmSDHC application. And in fact the legal letter specifically mentions that.

    I will not speculate on why Palm Inc. would do that, but I would like to point out Palm Inc. has sent out more legal letters in the previous weeks:

    1) A letter was sent to 3GX Software ordering them to rename their program, PalmRevolt. As such, PalmRevolt is now pRevolt.

    2) A legal letter was also sent to the famous ZZTechs (creator of ZLauncher) and as such, their program PalmInsiderPro is now ZInsider.

    The flaw is that PalmSDHC, PalmRevolt, and PalmInsiderPro ALL were NOT named after Palm Inc., but instead the PalmOS (now technically called the GarnetOS). I wonder is PalmRevolt and PalmInsiderPro would have any legal standing if they challenged Palm Inc.’s letter as both those apps predate the PalmOS being renamed the GarnetOS…

    Regardless, Palm certainly is driving away developers this way. I know publishing software for the iPhone isn’t much easier, so I guess WindowMobile and Nokia’s Maemo can only benefit from this, eh.

    If Palm Inc. keeps up like this, NovaOS will sink faster than the Titanic……..What, too soon?

  6. Hi Guys,
    thank you so much for talking back!

    As for StyleTap – I am not sure if Palm really has the nerve to target the company. They are probably well-insured legally, have loads of income and can thus hit Palm really hard.

    As for the OS: IMHO, they never planned to kill it off. It just happened…

    All the best
    Tam Hanna

  7. It is quite sad that folks who have upgraded many generations of Palm hardware are being seen as a dead end… I have spent the last two days researching “upcoming” palm products and it seems that there is only Windows OS devices in the pipeline.

    True, we can keep using what we have (while we can).. and perhaps we will be happy w/ that. That said, if I need to choose between Windows OS systems there are a whole lot of choices out there and perhaps a HP or other brand is better for me…

    Apple went through the same tears back in the mid 90′s. They tore themselves apart. Finally they got their act together (to an extent) and got back on the playing field. But they lost me through that nebulous time and I have not come back. Losing the Palm diehards will be a one time event. They, also, wont come back.

    Get your act together Palm and get the OS back under your own roof. This whole “Access” logo thing was the first thing that told me something was up. Whoever Access is is besides the point. Palm should be palm and if not, maybe it should be real open source, but unless it is supported as Java etc is by Sun, it won’t go anywhere.

    cross your fingers all.

  8. Hi,
    my words.

    Stay tuned – TamsPalm will keep you in tune!

    All the best
    Tam Hanna

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