Palm will continue to live another day – if not, for years – as HP announced the company will buy the sputtering mobile phone manufacture for $1.2 billion dollars.
The sale is expected to close in the third quarter of 2010.
Some are complex about this sale: Why would one almost non-existing semi-phone manufacture (see iPaqs) buy a dying phone manufacture with hopes to compete against Andriod and Apple?
HP made very clear during this afternoon’s conference call to investors that the webOS would be featured in several of HP’s products: including netbooks, phones and the Slate.
Analyses predict that the mobile computing market is the fastest growing market, worldwide and HP wants in on the action after being burned by crappy Windows Mobile 6 phones.
What will happen to Microsoft, as HP is a Windows phone reseller? Company executives stated that they still have good relations with Microsoft and will continue to support Microsoft but you have to wonder if the writing is on the wall for HP leaving Microsoft.
I’m some-what buying the excuse that Palm’s WebOS is a great mobile operating system; I’ve never played with the phone but people I know that use the Palm Pre on a regular basis tell me that the operating system is a lot better than the iPhone. WebOS would be a better choice than Windows 7 on the Slate PC but as Apple has shown us, mobile applications make the phone. Don’t have them, phone goes nowhere.
The real reason – I believe – why HP bought Palm is not for the mobile OS but for their patent portfolio. Palm was the leader in mobile computer market as the Palm pilot became the device for syncing appointments, emails and maintaining your calendar while on the go. The company holds 1600 patents and don’t be surprised if the HP legal department is looking over the portfolio to see if Apple, HTC, Blackberry and Nokia are violating those any one of those patents.
HP will try again in the mobile computing market with WebOS touted on many devices and they might gain some grounds. But with an App store with 10,000 applications, HP only bought Palm for the patents and not for advancing in mobile computing.