Disney Lays Down Anti-Palm PDA Policy

Palm OS users are out of luck. As the holidays near, Disney makes its PDA policy loud and clear to employees: only Blackberries and iPaqs allowed on its network.

Palm OS users might see the Mouseketeer more as a Scrooge.

Walt Disney Co. earlier this week posted an internal memo clearly stating its company policy on personal digital assistants (PDAs), particularly as the holidays grow near and gadgetry gift giving is a strong if not inevitable likelihood for the technologically inclined.

"My way or the highway" is basically the dictum the world-famous Mouse-House is laying down for its Burbank, Calif.-based Imagineering employees, the department responsible for designing and creating Disney theme parks, restaurants, hotels, and stores.

The policy also extends to all other Disney employees as part of a company-wide evaluation process Disney's IT department undertakes on a regular basis albeit a Disney spokesperson was quick to point out the company "revisits [its policy] often."

"During this holiday season, many manufacturers and retailers have introduced a variety of computer related peripherals and gadgets," stated the memo. "Many of you will probably receive or give these devices as gifts."

In a broad-stroke policy, Disney management made it clear that only Blackberry PDAs and Compaq IPAQs will receive network support and connectivity.

Palm OS-based devices such as Palm Plots, Handspring Visors, or Sony Clie will be left out in network no-man's-land, unless ownership of such gadgets pre-dated the memo, in which case they will be "grandfathered" into the system for a short period of time.

"The strategy is to simplify our technology environment," continued the spokesperson. "One way to do that is to select specific software and hardware platforms and standardize them throughout the company."

The spokesperson was eager to clarify that Disney's platform choice is not a slight against Palm, but rather part of a procedural process that the company undertakes on a regular basis.

Additionally, Disney is calling for ramped-up virus protection on all business-owned handhelds, although specific details on what types of security software will become de facto for Disney PDA users was not available.

"With the widespread adoption of PDAs in the enterprise, IT departments have to make decisions that will best support their companies needs," said Chris Dunphy, director of Competitive Analysis for PalmSource Inc.

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