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Palm taps new exec for OS unit

In a continued push to create a separate company out of its PalmSource unit, Palm hires a chief financial officer for the division.

    In its continued effort to create a separate company out of its operating system unit, Palm has hired a chief financial officer for its PalmSource division.

    Albert Wood, who had been CFO of wireless company Insignia Solutions, joined PalmSource last week. PalmSource introduced Wood at an analysts meeting held Monday in New York.

    At the meeting, Palm CEO Eric Benhamou reiterated that Palm plans to spin off the operating system unit to shareholders early next year. Benhamou said continued weakness in the financial markets is unlikely to delay Palm's plans.

    Palm has been making a number of moves in preparation for the split, which the company hopes will boost its sagging shares. Palm also hopes that by splitting in two it will be able to reassure licensees who may have been worried that the OS unit was not independent enough.

    Earlier this month, Palm enacted a reverse stock split to raise its stock well above Nasdaq's $1 minimum. The company has also been shoring up a separate board of directors for PalmSource.

    At the same time, the hardware and OS units have moved into new, separate headquarters, with PalmSource moving to Sunnyvale, Calif., and the hardware group landing in Milpitas, Calif.

    Even as the first OS 5 devices hit the market--including Palm's just-introduced Tungsten T--PalmSource executives outlined some of the features that will be a part of OS 6. Among the features planned for the next major release of the Palm operating system are: integrated support for Web services, scalable graphics, better security, and more unified methods for handling multimedia files and e-mail.

    Palm also announced Monday four carriers that will sell its Tungsten W wireless product: AT&T Wireless, Rogers AT&T in Canada, Europe's Vodafone, and Singapore Telecom.

    Separately, Palm CFO Judy Bruner reiterated that the company plans to get close to breakeven, excluding certain items, during the current quarter.

    News.com's Richard Shim contributed to this report.