Report: Palm near to acquisition of Be Inc.

Palm is close to finalizing a deal to acquire the software company Be, according to a report published Thursday.

The sides are so close to completing a deal that a formal announcement could come later Thursday, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Representatives at Palm and Be could not immediately be reached for comment.

Be designs software operating systems and applications for Internet appliances. Though the report did not disclose any potential terms for the deal, it would most likely be an all-stock transaction, the WSJ said.

In addition to the acquisition of Be, Palm is also expected to announce the departure of Alan Kessler, general manager for its platform group, the report said.

Palm has been reorganizing the company to refocus itself on handheld computer hardware, its traditional core business, as well as the licensing of the Palm software platform.

Last month, Palm announced that Motorola Corp., Intel Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) were working on readying Palm's handheld computer operating system, Palm OS, for use with more powerful chips, including some based on the ARM microprocessor core. The move was part of an effort by Palm to allow hardware manufacturers to design more innovative devices to run the Palm OS, as well as encouraging companies to create more advanced applications for the devices.

Be's core product is its Internet appliance, BeIA, which has minimum hardware requirements including Pentium-class or PowerPC class processors, 8MB of persistent storage, and at least 32MB RAM of memory, Be said on its Web site.

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