Palm, the Sunnyvale maker of multi-function Treo phones, will have some star power from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on hand Monday when it's expected to launch its first Treo that uses a Windows-based Microsoft operating system, industry sources said.
The operating system will power Palm's newest Treo multi-function phone, the 700w, making its debut at the invitation-only news conference Monday.
Gates, fresh from being named (again) as America's richest person by Forbes magazine, will join chief executives from Palm and Verizon Wireless at Monday's announcement. Verizon is expected to be the cellular carrier for the phone.
Pictures of the Treo 700w were already being shown Thursday on the Web site Engadget.com. The new partnership between Microsoft and Palm means the Sunnyvale-based handheld device-maker is moving beyond the operating system software it originally created. Palm's software division split off to form PalmSource in 2003, and earlier this month was bought by Japanese Internet browser company Access for $324.3 million.
``It's a very big deal because Palm, for many, many years, has relied on its homegrown operating system,'' said Richard Doherty, an analyst at the Envisioneering Group, a market research firm.
Now, Doherty said, Palm has decided to evolve beyond that, in order to compete better with other multi-function phone makers that have made strides possibly because they were not as tied as Palm has been to one particular system.