IBM and 3Com refuse to be beaten by Microsoft in the handheld war, with plans to release two new versions of their Palm Pilot next month.
3Com is continuing its war of words against Microsoft's recently launched Palm PC, although it has not yet carried out its threat to sue over the name's alleged similarity to Palm Pilot - a product also licensing by IBM.
A 3Com representative said: ?Microsoft is trading on the name, deliberately cashing in on its reputation. But no legal action has been taken yet. Everyone is still analysing the situation.?
?Microsoft should be ashamed of itself,? said Diana Dubinsky, president of 3Com?s Palm Computing subsidiary. ?It?s bad enough that they have to copy everybody?s products, but do they have to copy the name??
Bret Recas, an IT analyst at Robertson Stephens Salomon, said: ?Hell, the first Palm got sued over the name about a year ago by the Pilot pen company, which was Japanese I think. They came up with a settlement. It was going to be named just ?Pilot? but it then became ?Palm Pilot? and there was also some minor adjustment to the logo.?p> The new IBM-3Com machines are codenamed ?Rocky? and it is believed they will offer corporate users Lotus Notes and communications software. They should ship this quarter.
It is believed that these versions will double the amount of memory to 2Mbytes upgradeable to 4Mbytes, and that they will incorporate the second generation Motorola chip, which will run up to half as fast as the Dragon Ball processor. They will also allow for synchronisation through a network, so a user can dial up remotely through the server.
Recas believes: ?This isn?t a big deal for IBM or even for 3Com. The Pilot is not a massive money maker. They?re just doing this to fill a space. IBM sells complete solutions and the Pilot?s the leading product in the space because it strikes the right balance between price and functionality. It will be positive for Pilot sales, but it won?t dramatically change the market.?
He added that, despite being aimed at the corporate marketplace, ?it won?t change the infrastructure overnight. It will still be largely a consumer product. Over time it may become a corporate standard product but it?s really early here.?
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