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Fri, Mar 08, 2002 - Page 21 News List

Palm in accord with regulators

AFP , SAN FRANCISCO

Palm Inc announced a settlement Wednesday with US regulators over allegations it made false claims about wireless Internet connectivity and other capabilities of its handheld devices.

According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Palm has agreed to "clearly and conspicuously" state in advertisements that some of its models require additional equipment to access websites and view e-mail wirelessly.

The FTC said claims stating that some models of Palm could access the Internet were "deceptive."

"We are going to comply fully with the spirit of the settlement," said Palm spokeswoman Marlene Somsak.

"We believe we have fully disclosed those requirements, but we are happy to make those disclosures in larger type and more explicit language."

The FTC also said Palm misled consumers when it claimed its handheld computers could work with Microsoft Word and Excel documents.

Consumers need to purchase additional software to use those files. The FTC alleged that Palm deceived users by not telling them that Palm devices with wireless capabilities needed to subscribe to a special Palm network to use those wireless functions.

The agency said Palm will now have to disclose the need for additional software or the separate network subscription requirement in all ads.

Only the Palm model VII and the newly introduced i705 come with wireless capabilities that are already built into the product.

Last April, Microsoft Corp and Hewlett-Packard Co agreed, under FTC pressure, to stop claims that its handheld computers, called "Pocket PCs," came with built-in wireless capabilities.

Those devices require the purchase of additional equipment to go wireless. Both companies agreed to state that that requirement on future promotions.

Pending any objections, the settlement will be made final on April 5.

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