PalmSource, the operating system subsidiary of handheld company Palm, cut 18 percent of its work force this week. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company laid off employees from all divisions within the company, according to Gabi Schindler, PalmSource’s senior vice president of marketing. Schindler declined to comment on the specific number of employees let go but OSNews learned that some ex-Be engineers were also among the unlucky ones.
PalmSource Cuts 18 Percent of Work Force
2003-02-07 Wireless 43 Comments
Hope the hubby’s still working Eugenia. I would hate for him to be in the same boat as a lot of us.
That’s terrible news. I hate to hear of anyone losing their job in these times.
Perhaps OpenBeOS can employ those ex-Be engineers as described in the latest newsletter.
Yes, he thankfully has a nice job and he is happy there. He was never at PalmSource. Right after Be, Inc, my husband now works for OpenWave, along with Benoit Schilings (one of the first engineers on BeOS). They work on mobile phone software.
Well thank goodness. And BTW – I can’t wait until my mobile phone can play 30 multimedia files at the same time
I’m glad he’s working on mobile phones – that’s a good area to be in now.
I really wonder about PDA’s, at least as we know them. We’ve got Microsoft cutting into Palm based PDA’s. I don’t know any recent sales figures, but PDA’s seem to suddenly be in a vulnerable place…well, I guess it’s been longer than “suddenly”. Phones with PDA type features seem to be where it’s at.
Perhaps they laid off all their Junior Vice Presidents of departments.
placing that curse on Be, Inc.
Maybe Apple can swipe up more of that Be-talent. It would make a lot of sense for them to join the OpenBeOS project, but doesn’t that open up some legal issues seeing how they use to work for Be?
Linus cuts 18% of the kernel developement team to cut costs.
i always thought this kind of thing was a weird responsibility of the head of marketing. marketing vps really have too much to say in most organizations.
I think somewhere in the FAQ on the OBOS site it said that that would violate the engineers’ NDAs, unfortunately, otherwise it might’ve been nice timing to have donations accepted and people not unemployed for too long.
I hope those ex be engineers find a good plase to work that does not have the initials MS
> I hope those ex be engineers find a good plase to work that does not have the initials MS
hah Martha Stewart OS? Your Desktop and file system cleans its self
and Lacy patterns print with your work documents. and Recipees pop up where Tool Tips are.
I’d really like to know the true deal here, as it appears that Be engineers, which was the main reason of the deal Be wanted to make with palm, could be losing their jobs, in what I know to be palm’s fault.
Palm != BeIA
There is no comparison. BeIA outclassed everyone. I want to know why technological superiority is punished, and people have to go to the poor house just to merely stave off an attack wave by MS and kin.
I want to know why we let it happen still. I mean, we- everyone.
<rant of the day>
Was it worth killing BeOS by putting it in a cupboard ? Just to get some engineers for some time and then throw them out like replaceable parts ? :^)
/me nolikes PalmSource even more.
</rant of the day>
>>>>BeIA outclassed everyone.
That’s funny — ask Sony and they would say that BeIA is a piece of junk.
Although Sony picked BeIA for eVilla earlier than 3Com picked QNX for Audrey —- 3Com launched Audrey much earlier. From the standpoint of “commerical off the shelf” fast development, QNX won.
Audrey used a slower CPU (200 Mhz) than eVilla (either 233 or 266). Audrey had a smaller footprint (24 Meg ROM) than eVilla (32 Meg). Audrey managed to do more with less hardware (the only major difference is audrey had pen input and palmpilot calender synch vs. eVilla had sony memory clip input). Because of lower manufacturing costs, 3Com can sell Audrey and still make a profit purely from hardware sales without ISP lock-up. QNX won.
Ironically, precisely because BeIA is a piece of unstable junk — Sony lost less money on evilla than 3Com. 3Com launched eariler, sold under a longer period, had more unsold inventory and offered full refund when they killed their IA. Sony killed eVilla less than 3 weeks after the official launch — launched later (lowered sales expectations once they saw Audrey’s death therefore manufactured less initially), had higher costs (therefore manufactured less initially) and sold less than 1 month (therefore less refunding to do).
In a normal economy, I think layoffs are good & healthy and lets companies get rid off people they don’t need & should be rid of!
BUT this ain’t no normal economy, good people are being let off and the worst is that nobody seems to be hiring. Its as if the companies are in absolute lockdown. Something tells me that a few percent of the economy is turning invisible. We don’t exist anymore.
I do hope these guys find something and don’t end up at Circuit City!
What happened to the Be guys that went to QNX?
And how is Silicon Valley these days?
I’m a garage startup and my project advance at a speed equal or superior to most company and i’m an army of one. Heck, just by finding a penny in the street i do more money per year than most current tech company.
The current company model is a flaw. America and europe are going to see the same fate as Argentina is some years and asia will follow once the master occident can’t aford the orient slave anymore.
Those programmer should see this as an oportunity and a deliverance.
As you may know, a number of ex-Be employees went to Danger Inc. who are makers of a phone/PDA/internet device ( http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=1548 ).
On Monday Danger Inc. secured another $35M in series D funding ( http://www.danger.com/view_pr.php?item=030203 ).
They are still hiring ( http://www.danger.com/jobs.php ) but I’m not sure if those leaving PalmSource have the skill sets Danger is asking for.
It just goes to show it’s not all doom and gloom if you’re working for a company which hasn’t lost it’s way.
I worked at Palm for 2 years. It is one of the most mismanaged companies ever. From the lack of budget after the IPO (it was a great party tho!), to the inability to produce another hit (a la the Palm V aka Sumo). Fargo, aka Tungsten T is a nice idea, but it is just not selling like they had hoped. The best thing that could happen to PalmSource would be for Sony to buy them.
But it sure seemed like Sony intentionally screwed the hell out of Be, and put the final nail in their coffin. As I understand it, Be did the work on spec, and wasn’t to get paid until Evilla shipped. Instead Sony puts it on the market, unfinished, for about 3 minutes before they killed the project, effectively taking Be, Inc. out with it.
Also, OSNews staff, the ’email address or URL of homepage’ box above put a “mailto:” in front of my URL when I tried to use one…
SABOTAGE? ; )
…but I do think Sony blew it big-time. As I recall, some of the “stability issues” had to do with the 90-degree orientation of the monitor for one thing – all so it could read like a sheet of paper (BFD, IMO).
Then there was tying it to a dialup ISP arrangement – stupid! I wanted one until that popped up – I pay for DSL, why would I want to pay for dialup from the same damn company??
Plus, they never had the pricepoint, really – even techno-illiterates could figure that they could buy a full PC for what they’d pay for a crippled PC – excuse me, “internet appliance” – and not be forced into an Internet agreement in the process.
Sony might want to blame Be, but their own stupidity did the eVilla in.
And Be made the mistake to go the full monty with Sony, while they had some offers for developing IA for smaller parties. Had they spread their talents (if possible for such a small company), they would have had a smaller time to market, faster cash and thus more life expectancy.
Be was also totally mismanaged, just like Palm. Companies seem to make the same mistake over and over and over again, and the last thing they want to do after a merger is learn from each other. Stupid.
And well, the software just wasn’t ready for it. The update center thingy just consisted of a bunch of lame PHP scripts. Sony was stupid enough to buy such crap! It could have been very nice, but then with more people (with the right skills) and more time, which they obviously didn’t have.
Back to BeOS Community!!!!!!!!!
Michael Vinícius de Oliveira
~ BlueEyedOS.com Webmaster ~
>>>Then there was tying it to a dialup ISP arrangement – stupid!
>>>Sony might want to blame Be, but their own stupidity did the eVilla in.
The ISP tie-in is BeOS related. I believe reading from Earthlink’s SEC filings that Earthlink would pay a straight bounty fee of something like $10 to Sony for each eVilla sold. Sony doesn’t share any of the monthly ISP fees at all.
If you look at the major IA’s on the market at that time —- Gateway/linux/AOL IA, Compaq/WinCE/MSN IA, Sony/BeIA/Earthlink IA and 3Com/QNX IA — only the 3Com device was WITHOUT a ISP tie-in.
Guess what —- out of the 4 IA devices — the 3Com Audrey uses the slowest CPU, smallest amount of flashable ROM and smallest amount of RAM. That’s the magical $10 hardware savings per unit that allows 3Com to sell their Audrey without any ISP tie-in.
That’s the difference between using an established embedded OS vs. a hacked-down version of linux/windows/beos.
“But it sure seemed like Sony intentionally screwed the hell out of Be, and put the final nail in their coffin. As I understand it, Be did the work on spec, and wasn’t to get paid until Evilla shipped. Instead Sony puts it on the market, unfinished, for about 3 minutes before they killed the project, effectively taking Be, Inc. out with it. ”
don’t know if it was on purpose but sony really did screw be.
“Guess what —- out of the 4 IA devices — the 3Com Audrey uses the slowest CPU, smallest amount of flashable ROM and smallest amount of RAM. That’s the magical $10 hardware savings per unit that allows 3Com to sell their Audrey without any ISP tie-in.”
Not really a fair comparison. Audrey was not supposed to do any multimedia (pictures) etc and the screen was tiny.
As for palm here is the deal. Everyone that wants a PDA has one and upgrades are slow in coming in this economy.
Palmsource needs to push to do more. The kyocera and samsung phone deals are a great start. More would be better. I don’t know about palm itself. Its a nice sustainable business just not one that is all that large.
>>>Not really a fair comparison. Audrey was not supposed to do any multimedia (pictures) etc and the screen was tiny.
That’s not multimedia — all 4 IA’s either have realplayer or wmp — which is the most demanding function in the IA’s (in terms of CPU processing power and ROM/RAM usage).
The only function that Sony eVilla has exclusively is the ability to read memory stick to display pictures. It doesn’t take a lot of flashable ROM to write a memory stick driver and it doesn’t take a lot RAM to display a slide show of pictures. Audrey has exclusively pen input and palmpilot-synchable calender. In terms of complexity, I think that the palmpilot synch manager is much more demanding than a simple memory stick driver and a simle slideshow.
obelix: BeIA outclassed everyone.
It may have, but notice what market it is targeted at: Internet applicance. They never took off, even with such big hype even from Intel. Never took off. Besides, going to Usenet, there were a lot of complains about eVilla using BeIA. I wonder why… if it outclassed everyone (Be fanatics blamed the fact that the monitor is potrait instead of landscape, lame excuse to me).
obelix: BeIA outclassed everyone. I want to know why technological superiority is punished
In a business, for success, you need these in direct order;
1) Good management
2) Good marketing
3) Good press relations
4) Maybe a good product.
In other words, people aren’t finding for something more technically superior, but something that works best for them. For a lot of people, Windows is that. BeOS may be innovative, but innovation never ever brings success.
beZilla? As stable as a hungry angry rodeo bull.
So, in other words, for web users, BeOS isn’t remotely useful. Sure you can survive on BeOS, but many don’t have a good reason to do so.
It is always a combination of good management and good marketing (which invloves product planning, advertising) and PR. Of course, having a good product matters in a lot of cases, but usually that falls under marketing (what features goes into the product and what doesn’t).
If you are working in a research lab, having something technologically superior benefits you. You might even win a Nobel price… But for business, having somethin you can market better, plus having good management and good PR matters more.
sam: 3Com can sell Audrey and still make a profit purely from hardware sales without ISP lock-up.
3Com never made a profit from Audrey.
Sandwich Boy: Sabotage?
Nice consipiracy. But it begs the question, why on earth would Sony waste millions of dollars to kill Be for no reason?
>(Be fanatics blamed the fact that the monitor is
>potrait instead of landscape, lame excuse to me).
Not so, it meant everything had to be rotated and this utterly crippled performance.
>but innovation never ever brings success.
I think this would be a lot more accurate if you were to say
“but innovation alone never ever brings success.”
>beZilla? As stable as a hungry angry rodeo bull.
>So, in other words, for web users, BeOS isn’t remotely >useful. Sure you can survive on BeOS, but many don’t
>have a good reason to do so.
On BONE Bezilla was unstable however stripzilla was compiled for BONE specifically and worked fine. BeOS finally got a good capable browser just before Mozilla 1.0.
>Sure you can survive on BeOS, but many don’t have a
>good reason to do so.
But you answered your own point with a sentence above…
>something that works best for them.
>Nice consipiracy. But it begs the question, why on
>earth would Sony waste millions of dollars to kill
>Be for no reason?
Never ascribe to maliciousness that which can adequately explained by stupidity.
I don’t agree on specific points but your overall point I do agree with 🙂
Although Sony picked BeIA for eVilla earlier than 3Com picked QNX for Audrey —- 3Com launched Audrey much
earlier. From the standpoint of “commerical off the shelf” fast development, QNX won.<——DID THEY?
I have an Audrey and beesides being dog-slow, it now refuses to connect to Earthlink anymore fpr some unknown reason,(changes in the ppp protocols or something)that neither I nor Earthlink’s so-called tech support team can figure out,so The Audrey is also a useless piece of junk anymore,and although I didn’t have an Evilla,nor really wanted one(I picked up the Audrey for my elderly father for $100 to stay in touch with me and he refused to use it,so I got it back for my children to use)I do use the BeOS desktop OS on a daily basis and it’s connecting to the net just fine,I’m writing thia using BeOS R5.03 on the Earthlink ISP.IMHO ALL INTERNET APPLIANCES ARE JUNK! because of the imbedded nature of their operating systems you just can’t get in there and re-configure certain things so in making these things Idiot Proof for Grandma they have also made them unupgradable and there is no ppp terminal so you can see what it is trying to tell it’s connection,Why HEll it ain’t even heavy enough to make a good boat anchor.hehe, betcha an Evilla would stop that boat at yer favorite fishin’ hole!
It’s too bad about all the NDA legal mumbo-jumbo.It sure would be nice if your husband could talk Benoit Schillings int making an updated 3DMix for OBOS or Zeta,one with a transport control and an imbedded record feature and supporting VST plug-ins(one can always dream)even with it’s limitations ,it’s still my favorite multitrack mixing app,I love the interface!
“In a business, for success, you need these in direct order;
1) Good management
2) Good marketing
3) Good press relations
4) Maybe a good product”
Be had good management. Did they make mistakes yes. Were their options extremely limited yes. You are saying that because company Be tried to do something that has essentially been proven to be impossible and failed then they had bad management.
No they did not. Be did a lot and got far with limited resources and support. They invested in internet appliances. That is true. But did they have a choice? Was the desktop battle getting anywhere? NO? Why? Gee maybe its because there is a monopolist at the helm and maybe because the average consumer just does not care unless the OS is on their computer when they buy it. Was Audio really going to pay back the investors within the next 20 years? probably not.
It is a lot easier to be an armchair quarterback then to try and disrupt the most embedded monopoly in history with tiny resources.
…only it was too slowly for the funding to be maintained. All the 3rd party apps that were announced only dried up after Be refocused to BeIA. Not before. It seems to me that BeOS on the desktop would have had some moderate success had there been more money to continue pushing it longer.
>>>>obelix: BeIA outclassed everyone.
I am saying that just because there is a perception that BeIA is better than WinCE — that DOESN’T MEAN that it’s better than EVERYONE. There were a number of PURE embedded OS’es that were marketed for IA/set-top usages at the time — and they are better than BeIA/WinCE/Linux from a technological standpoint for embedded internet appliance usage.
>>>>sam: 3Com can sell Audrey and still make a profit purely from hardware sales without ISP lock-up.
<<<<3Com never made a profit from Audrey.
Sure 3Com never made a profit at all because they never sold enough units to recoup their initial investments. But I was talking about a PER-UNIT profit where Audrey had a overall lower manufacturing cost PER-UNIT and that allows 3Com to do without the ISP tie-in.
>>>>Sam says: Although Sony picked BeIA for eVilla earlier than 3Com picked QNX for Audrey —- 3Com launched Audrey much earlier. From the standpoint of “commerical off the shelf” fast development, QNX won.<——DID THEY?
I have an Audrey and beesides being dog-slow
What the hell are you talking about? I was talking about if you are buying a COTS OS — you expect to be able to do fast prototyping and get the product out to the market rapidly (and you were talking about actual performance of the IA itself).
It took less than 6 months for 3Com to finish developing and launched Audrey. In fact, the timeline was something like this — Sony picked BeIA, later on 3Com picked QNX, later on 3Com launched Audrey, later on 3Com killed Audrey, later on Sony launched eVilla and then finally Sony killed eVilla. If it took that long to prototype with BeIA, I might as well write my own home-grown proprietary embedded OS or make my own embedded linux distribution.
I worked on it for some time and can clearly say that it lacked any quality. No good engineering can come from an attitude which basically consists of putting out fires only. Instead you should build something which is fire proof in the first place. There were so many shortcomings and mistakes made, I am still amazed. I think this is mostly due to a lack of experience from a lot of people there trying to release a product at a quick pace.
I learned a lot there. One thing is that stability and predictability are the most important things an engineer should push for. Quality of engineering is not about having wonderful and fancy ideas, but more about having an overall picture of the product.
At my current company I learned that KISS is the way to go. Take something existing and make small changes. Small is the keyword here, especially if you do not trust the original code. This allows you to exchange it with something else eventually.
BeIA lacked modularity in the sense that teams could totally independantly deliver code, which means minimum dependancy between teams. They also used unproven and non debugged technology and most of the time totally missed the point of what the device was supposed to do eventually. This applies both for hardware and software. The idea of a cheap applicance is right, the size of it was not.
Sony pushed for their high quality and expensive Trinitron screens and totally underestimated the CPU and GFX power necessary to drive a good user experience.
For the time constraints given, Be simply wrote too much new code. And it was totally multithreaded too. Something not every engineer can easily debug. I would say that most of the time was spend on debugging hopelessly complex and buggy code.
It is interesting enough that we had a few Audreys in the office. I was not impressed by them. I strongly believe that BeIA was the better product of the two. Nothing can beat the flexibilty of a PC though. The conclusion is that non PC desktop user experiences only work for mobile devices.
I really love my T-Mobile SideKick, I use it constantly for web browsing and email. It simply works well enough for what I want to do. If only the battery life would be better.
What is even funnier is that most of the Be engineers were still on the BeOS trip and had a hard time adjusting to the new environment. A lack of motiviation was the result along with uncertainty, layoffs were a reoccuring theme. Nothing which leads to a good product…
Seems that I was not the only one who’s remembering old Be Inc. bad news when hearing about Palm Source’s situation.
If I had enough money, I would buy all ex Be’s IP back from Palm and start, where Be has quit. I still believe that BeOS would have a future. Hopefully OBOS will. Maybe, as other have mentioned already, some of this engineers find their way into OBOS developement – may it BE only for support!
Look. Palm did not buy the Be assetts to just sit them on a shelf so they could die. That would be a waste of money. The Be technology will be used in PalmOS 6. Right now we are on PalmOS 5. Just because some old Be engineers were fired does not change this.
And for the LOVE OF GOD, BeOS is dead. Let it die a death with dignity. Stop digging it out of the ground every 5 minutes. WTF good is an operating system without any apps anyway? Even if you can somehow ressurect it what are you going to do with it? Reboot and shutdown the computer all day? Move files?
Palm bought the engineers, not the BeOS technology. Palm doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about BeOS and its technology.
“I’d really like to know the true deal here, as it appears that Be engineers, which was the main reason of the deal Be wanted to make with palm, could be losing their jobs, in what I know to be palm’s fault. ‘
that we purchased be for the engineers line was always a half-truth, just part of the story. Its also possible that the engineers that they laid off were non-critical
1) I’m tired of all this second-guessing with Be, Inc.
2) I don’t care about Palm or PDA’s
3) I use BeOS every day on my home computer. I handle my e-mail, check out newsgroups and discussion groups, read my favorite online comics, maintain my budget and other financial stuff, write letters, play mp3s, play around with graphics, play games, etc.
No, I can’t quite do *everything* that I want to in BeOS, but I can do most things, which is quite a bit more than merely reboot and shutdown. Get a clue.
Currently, I’m learning C++ so I, too, can write BeOS programs, and maybe help fill in some of the gaps. And I use the BeIDE to write my book’s sample code in, which I find much easier than using vi or emacs (although ports of those and other editors are available on BeOS if you want to use them).