Some surprises on list of firms reportedly mulling webOS purchase

HP logoReuters is reporting that HP is investigating the possible sale of webOS. The future of the smartphone and tablet platform, acquired by HP last year when it bought Palm, has been in doubt since former HP CEO Leo Apotheker announced that HP was going to stop producing webOS phones and tablets, and possibly sell its PC division too. New CEO Meg Whitman has since said that HP will be keeping its PC division, but no decisions have been made yet about webOS.

According to Reuters, potential buyers of webOS include Amazon, RIM, Intel, IBM, and Oracle. Amazon and RIM both have tablets of their own, so the acquisition of webOS's technology and Palm's patents would seem a natural fit to bolster those companies' positions. Intel has long been investing in smartphone and tablet operating systems, and is a core sponsor of the MeeGo project, and so again, the value of webOS is clear.

IBM and Oracle, however, have little or no involvement in either the smartphone or tablet markets, making a webOS purchase hard to understand. The most likely reason for interest from these companies is the patent portfolio rather than the software itself. Oracle is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Google over Android, claiming both patent and copyright infringement. The acquisition of the Palm intellectual property would give the database company a whole new set of weapons with which to attack Android.

If webOS is indeed sold off, Reuters is suggesting that it will fetch "hundreds of millions" of dollars, falling a long way short of the $1.2 billion that HP spent buying Palm in the first place.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: HP, OSes, Palm, webOS

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