HP, Palm Deal Complete, webOS Developments Ahead

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2010-07-01
 
 
 

Hewlett-Packard has completed its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm.

HP, the world's top-selling PC maker, with access to Palm's webOS mobile platform and Pre and Pixi smartphones, will now be able to "participate more aggressively in the highly profitable, $100 billion smartphone and connected mobile devices markets," HP said in a statement July 1.

However, the real draw for HP was Palm's webOS  mobile operating system. It's expected that HP will pair the OS with a tablet form factor to better compete with Apple's iPad and the tablet market that's sprung up around it. Former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, who under HP Executive Vice President Todd Bradley will be in charge of a Palm global business unit, again highlighted HP's interest in webOS.

"With HP's full backing and global strengths, I'm confident that webOS will be able to reach its full potential," Rubinstein said in the statement. "This agreement will accelerate the development of this incredible platform with new resources, scale and support from a world-respected brand."

Bradley seconded the notion, as well as confirmed the suggestion, made by a Palm developer during a recent Web seminar, that the Palm team has a road map and, despite the acquisition, is at work on new smartphones.

"With webOS, HP will deliver its customers a unique and compelling experience across smartphones and other mobility products," Bradley said in the statement. "This allows us the opportunity to fully engage in growing our smartphone family offering and the footprint of webOS."

Got an idea for the perfect webOS-based HP product? On the Palm blog, Jon Zilber, online communications director at Palm, announced that with the two companies together, "great things are in store," and called on consumers to visit Palm's Twitter and Facebook pages with "shout-outs for favorite new apps [and] wishlists for future products."

HP first announced its intention to buy Palm April 28, after the struggling smartphone maker announced in February that it was interested in being acquired. According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, 16 companies expressed interested in Palm initially, and six, HP included, took the processes further, signing nondisclosure agreements  and meeting with Palm and its advisors. While HTC, Nokia, Motorola and Lenovo were named by analysts as potential suitors for Palm, the discreet SEC document doesn't disclose the names of the interested parties.

In addition to Palm's webOS and smartphones, the acquisition, HP said, brought with it a  "rich portfolio of intellectual property from the smartphone pioneer."

 

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