In an unusual move, Palm today announced a $44 million licensing deal with Access to license the source code of PalmOS 5 (Garnet). There has been speculation that Palm would eventually license the hibernating OS 6 (Cobalt) to take advantage of its multi-tasking nature and built-in one handed navigation, or be an early licensee of Access’s next-gen mobile OS, called ALP (Access Linux Platform).
Instead, Palm now has the rights to not just include OS 5 on its snazzy Treo smartphones, but to mess with said OSes guts. The OS is stale by any standards, but this unique deal gives Palm the ability to use any or all parts of Garnet, meaning it might be working to brew its own operating system, an unusual move indeed.
As an analog, imagine if Dell bought source code rights to Windows XP. It could then include its own OS with the servers it sells, and make them 100% compatible with Windows software without actually having to install windows (or pay its licensing fees). This, of course, is unlikely, but underscores the noteworthiness of this move.
Palm Signs Perpetual License for Palm OS Garnet [PalmInfoCenter]