Palm, Inc. is a personal digital assistant and smartphone manufacturer headquartered in Sunnyvale, California that is responsible for popular products such as the Zire, Tungsten PDAs, Treo smartphones and the LifeDrive. Previous product lines include the Palm Pilot, Palm III, Palm V and Palm VII. While most of their devices run Palm OS, a recent edition of the Treo runs Windows Mobile.
Palm Computing, Inc. was founded in 1992 by Jeff Hawkins, who sought out the help of Donna Dubinsky and Ed Colligan, all of whom guided Palm to the invention of the Palm Pilot. The company was started to create a PDA for consumers, called the Zoomer. The devices were manufactured by Casio and marketed by Tandy, while Palm provided the PIM software. The operating system was provided by Geoworks. The Zoomer failed commercially, but Palm managed to survive through selling synchronization software for HP devices, and the Graffiti handwriting recognition software for the Apple Newton MessagePad.
The company was acquired by U.S. Robotics Corp. in 1995. In June 1997, Palm became a subsidiary of 3Com when U.S. Robotics was acquired by 3Com. In June 1998, the founders became unhappy at the direction in which 3Com was taking the company, and they left and founded Handspring.
3Com made the Palm subsidiary an independent, publicly traded company on March 1, 2000, and it traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol PALM. Palm Inc had its IPO during the Dot com bubble and in its first day of trading the shares of the new company hit an all time high of $95.06. But competition and the end of the Dot com bubble caused Palm's shares to lose 90% of its value in just over a year so by June 2001 the company's shares were trading at $6.50.
In January 2002, Palm set up a wholly owned subsidiary to develop and license Palm OS, which was named PalmSource in February. PalmSource was then spun off from Palm as an independent company.
In August 2003, the hardware division of the company merged with Handspring, was renamed to palmOne, Inc. and traded under the ticker symbol PLMO. The Palm trademark was held by a jointly owned holding company.
In April 2005, palmOne purchased PalmSource's share in the 'Palm' trademark for US$30 million. In July 2005, palmOne launched its new name and brand reverting back to Palm, Inc. and trading under the ticker symbol PALM once again.
In December 2006, Palm, Inc. paid $44 million to ACCESS for the rights to the source code for Palm OS Garnet. With this arrangement, a single company is again developing palm hardware and software. Palm can modify the licensed software as needed and it need not pay royalties to ACCESS over future years.
In June 2007 Palm formed a strategic relationship with the private-equity firm Elevation Partners who has purchased a 25% equity stake of the company for $325 million – an investment that comes after months of rumours about a possible Palm sale. Palm CEO Ed Colligan acknowledged that "We were approached by larger parties over the last six months," and "the reality is that we thought this was the best outcome for our business and our investors.
Palm has instituted programs with its suppliers to ensure that products are designed and manufactured according to global environmental laws and regulations. Palm uses independent lab testing on selective components to verify banned substance compliance of its products.
Also to help encourage people to better the environment by recycling they have set up a trade in recycling program. By sending in the handhelds and mobile phones for reuse and recycling you can prevent them from going into landfills. the program safely reclaims metals and also isolates heavy metals, protecting the environment and making these available for reuse.Handhelds, phones and accessories will be sorted, graded, tested and ultimately slated for materials reclamation or reuse. The reuse of these devices generates revenues to fund this program as well as the Palm Foundation, a charitable organization that supports educational programs.