Palm is buying back the software that it originally developed in order to be able to improve it for its range of handheld devices.

The company had developed PalmSource for its first devices, and after it received critical aclaim, set it up as its own firm. Then it sold it to Access Systems, which failed to further develop it to the standards of Windows Mobile 5 and RIM's BlackBerry OS.

However, Palm has announced that it has bought a perpetual licence for the Palm Garnet OS from Access Systems for $44 million, which lets it keep the rights to any edits and upgrades. The one time payment means that Palm won't have to pay royalties for years.

Why is Palm so eager to have control over its OS? According to analysts, it combines the ease of use of Windows Mobile with the power of RIM's BlackBerry.

Palm's latest model is the Treo 680, which has to compete with a number of smartphones and the current critic's darling, the BlackBerry Pearl.