HP Is Getting Some Good IP, People

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-04-28 Print this article Print

When compared with handsets rolled out over the years by the likes of Nokia and Apple, and now all the Android-based phones, Hyers said, "HP devices just could not compete. They still sell [iPaqs] through their enterprise business, but it's so small that ... you just never see HP's line of devices."
What HP is getting in this deal is a company that, while it had its financial and marketing woes, still makes solid devices, Hyers said. "And brings with it the PalmOS, a very good mobile operating system. Palm also comes with a lot of solid IP [intellectual property]. On the other side, Palm is coming to a company that has vast resources and strong channels into the enterprise. And it's really the enterprise that is the key here."

Forrester analyst Charles Golvin said he thought the transaction was a good news-bad news deal.

"The good news is that HP made a strong move toward becoming a player in the mobile market," Golvin said. "The bad news is that it's the wrong move.

"Palm could be valued for its brand, its intellectual property, its platform or its people. HP doesn't need the Palm brand; the IP helps an existing player, not a new entrant; we don't think the WebOS platform is viable[in the] long term in the face of its competition. HP could sweep up Palm's people individually at a much lower price. HP needs a strong presence in mobile, but Palm doesn't deliver that."

iSuppli wireless communications Tina Teng said, however, "The battle for dominance in the high-tech world increasingly is focused on the mobile Internet. Any company that can manage to control the flow of revenue from wireless data users-coming from subscriptions, ad sales or app store revenues-stands to benefit enormously. With the Palm purchase, HP has positioned itself as a player in this great technology battle."

Leave it to the lawyers

Later in the day April 28, the New York-based law firm of Levi & Korsinsky announced that it is investigating Palm's board of directors "for possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of state law" in connection with the transaction.

The investigation concerns whether the board of directors "breached their fiduciary duties to Palm stockholders by failing to adequately shop the company before entering into this transaction and whether HP is underpaying for Palm shares, thus unlawfully harming Palm stockholders."

Levi & Korsinsky noted that Palm shares traded at $14.14 per share as recently as Jan. 15, and that "at least one analyst has set a price target for Palm stock at $14.00 per share."

Editor's Note: eWEEK Senior Editor Jeff Burt contributed to this story.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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