Ever since I was asked at a Comdex (sometime around the turn of the century) to make a prediction, I've been predicting the end of the PalmOS (here's a Google search that gets you to most of that coverage). Back then, it was simply the birth of Microsoft's PocketPC operating system that inspired me to that bit of crystal ball gazing. I've also been saying that Palm, and then later the operating system company spinout PalmSource, could easily reverse this fortune if only they bit the same bullet that Research in Motion has done by re-engineering it's OS to be more of a pure Java machine.
As the PocketPC train from Redmond rolls on, the people driving it couldn't ask for things to play out more in their favor. Instead of having to divide the competition and conquer, PocketPCs competitors have been doing that to themselves. To this sideline watcher, the PalmOS ecosystem has very little vibrance when compared to .NET (now, the official app dev environment for PocketPC/Windows Mobile) and Java.
I've always felt that PalmSource needs to go where the developers are and PalmSource and Palm have, for the most part, objected, saying I'm wrong. I've stoodfast in saying that this lack of prescience on PalmSource's behalf will move the PalmOS into oblivion (recently exacerbated by the surfacing of a Treo running Windows Mobile: see Treo surfaces with Windows Mobile: PalmOS R.I.P). Today, for PalmSource, if you ask me, oblivion as officially arrived. According to a Reuters report, the company has been acquired by Access, a Japan-based developer of mobile browsing technology that I've never heard of before (apparently, it's pretty big in Japan). My guess is that that, in addition to a few gems worth plucking out of the PalmOS for integration into something else, Access' interest may have also been based on some of the Linux technology PalmSource picked up in December 2004 when it acquired China MobileSoft. Acquisition by a relatively unknown company in Japan? That's oblivion folks. PalmOS, you gave birth to an industry. Thanks for the memories.