What's in a name? Ask 3Com

John R Chang (JRChang+@CMU.EDU)
Sat, 17 Jan 1998 18:36:15 -0500 (EST)

BusinessWeek 1/26/1998, p.6


Is Microsoft facing charges of being the bad boy of technology yet again?
Yep. But this time, 3Com's the one crying foul.

3Com wasn't upset on Jan. 7 when Microsoft introduced a handheld PC
modeled on its best-selling PalmPilot. The entry of a big company like
Microsoft, it said, meant consumers would be reassured about the
still-fledgling category of pocket-size computers. The new models use
Windows CE software and will be sold by such companies as Philips,
Samsung, and Casio, which makes the Cassiopeia.

But 3Com, whose version uses its own PalmOS software, was furious when
Microsoft decided to call its design the "Palm PC." 3Com has already
trademarked "Palm Computing" and "Palm Pilot." "Microsoft should be
ashamed of itself," says Donna Dubinsky, president of 3Com's Palm
Computing subsidiary. "It's bad enough that they have to copy everybody's
products, but do they have to copy the name?"

The company says it may go ahead and sue Microsoft. Meanwhile, MIcrosoft
executive Roger Gulrajani pooh-poohs the problem. "Palm," he says, is
simply a generic term for a device held in one's hand.


John Chang School of Computer Science, Carnegie-Mellon University JRChang+@CMU.EDU | http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/jrc/