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3Com buys Smartcode Technologie

Hoping to extend the Palm Computing platform into the mobile information appliance market, the networking giant buys Smartcode Technologie.

Hoping to extend the Palm Computing platform into the mobile information appliance market, networking giant 3Com today announced that it has acquired Smartcode Technologie in a cash deal worth $17.5 million.

Smartcode, based in Montpellier, France, develops and provides wireless data communications and Internet access software technology that is used by many cellular telecommunications companies.

3Com has acquired all of the outstanding shares of Smartcode, and does not expect the purchase to materially impact its fiscal 1999 results, the company said.

Through this acquisition, 3Com hopes to add advanced wireless communications capabilities to the Palm Computing platform to address the fast-growing market for mobile information appliances such as cellular telephones, messaging devices, data communicators, and smart phones.

"The acquisition of Smartcode will continue to drive the phenomenal growth of the 'Palm Computing Economy' for developers, vendors, and customers in the worldwide mobile information appliance market," Janice Roberts, 3Com's senior vice president of business development, said in a statement.

Palm Computing's handheld PalmPilot device is one of the most popular devices in the market. Some 1.6 million PalmPilot devices shipped in 1998, making it the top-selling handheld device.

Shares of 3Com jumped almost 1 percent to 32.38 in morning trading. The stock has traded as high as 51.13 and as low as 22.94 during the past 52 weeks.

Smartcode's president and CEO, Alain Molinie, will become general manager of the new Palm Computing Platform Europe. Smartcode's 33 employees will form the nucleus of the new group, centered in Montpellier.