PalmSource CEO David Nagel has resigned, leaving the company in the hands of an interim leader while it seeks a successor.

Nagel, 60, will remain at the company in an advisory role until mid-July to assist with the transition. No reason was given for the move.

Patrick McVeigh, 53, appointed in February as senior vice president, worldwide licensing for PalmSource, was named interim CEO in tandem with the board of directors' search for a permanent successor, it said.

Palm iCEO is former Apple exec

Before joining PalmSource in February, McVeigh served as CEO of Aliph, a developer of next generation audio and speech technologies for mobile devices, and as chairman and CEO of Omnisky before that company was sold to Earthlink in December 2001.

McVeigh also has a history with Palm, having been responsible for worldwide sales of all Palm products as well as international marketing and operations, PalmSource said. Before joining Palm, McVeigh spent over ten years with Apple in a variety of sales and marketing positions.

The software, hardware split

In October 2003, as part of PalmOne's acquisition of Handspring, it spun off its software division to create PalmSource, freeing PalmOne to focus on hardware. Nagel, who had served as a member of the board of directors of Palm was named CEO and elected to the board of directors of PalmSource in December 2001. Palm's name was changed to PalmOne in August 2003 as part of the spin-off.

In January, PalmOne's first CEO, Todd Bradley, announced his plans to leave the company. Ed Colligan, who had been PalmOne's president, was named interim CEO and formally given the full-time position last week.

Competition has intensified for both PalmOne and PalmSource. As PalmOne looks to stem its dwindling share of an overall declining PDA (personal digital assistant) market, PalmSource has been looking to make deeper inroads into the market for smart phone operating systems.

In February, PalmSource acquired China MobileSoft (CMS) with an eye toward gaining smart phone and Linux expertise. Later that month, the company introduced of a range of mobile phone software and third-party applications at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes. New products included mFone for Smart Phone, a platform designed to run on Linux, and Feature Phone, which provides an interface and engine for telephone dialling.

In March, PalmSource launched two mobile phone platforms based on software from CMS: PalmSource Feature Phone for budget mobile phones and PalmSource MFone, Linux-based software for upscale handsets.