Acquisitions and losses...Palm is to acquire software maker Be but lose a key executive, the company announced yesterday. In an effort to retain its position as leader in the handheld software market and prepare its operating system to compete with Microsoft's Pocket PC OS, Palm has agreed an $11m all-stock deal for the technology assets and intellectual property of Be. The deal is expected to be finalised in the fourth quarter, subject to Be shareholder approval. Following the announcement some weeks ago to restructure its business and create an independent group focused on licensing the Palm operating system, Alan Kessler, general manager of Palm's Platform Solutions group, is to stand down today. Kessler has been a an integral part of the team developing Palm's new strategy but it was agreed that a new executive was needed to head up the division. Eric Benhamou, chairman of Palm's and 3Com's boards of directors, is to stand in for the role until a permanent replacement is found.