Palm Inc. on Monday announced that it has chosen RSA Security Inc. to provide the encryption and other security software for future versions of the Palm OS.
Palm will use RSAs BSAFE encryption software to protect transactions made using Palm devices.
The deal is an important one for RSA, of Bedford, Mass., which has fallen on hard times of late and has been slow to capitalize on the potential of the wireless market. The company was one of the originators of the commercial cryptography market, but has faced stiff competition in the wireless industry from specialists such as Certicom Corp. and Ntru Inc.
Palm also has a partnership with Certicom, which specializes in wireless PKI software.
RSAs encryption technology, which is based on algorithms developed for desktop PCs, has been seen as unsuitable for constrained environments such as PDAs and cell phones due to the relatively large amount of processing power required for its algorithms. Both Ntru and Certicom developed their software with wireless applications in mind and say that their software requires far less computing power than RSAs.
Revenue has been hard to come by for these companies though, and Certicom last week slashed 30 percent of its work force and announced a broad restructuring. The companys former CEO resigned last month.
The details of the Palm-RSA alliance are thin, and the companies said only that BSAFE will be included with future versions of the Palm OS.
For its part, RSA has seen its revenue decline dramatically in the last year and in the latest quarter, ended Sept. 30, posted a loss of more than $15 million. The company recently had to raise more money through a private debt placement.
Palm has also stumbled a bit of late. Its CEO, Carl Yankowski, resigned last week after presiding over a period in which the companys stock fell from a recent high of more than $62 to its current level of about $2.65. The once-mighty Santa Clara, Calif., company has been buffeted by competition from Pocket PC devices running Microsoft Corp. software as well as Palm OS-based PDAs from Handspring Inc.