It didn't take all that long for Palm to find a buyer. Just three weeks after the company was put up for salePalm has fitted snugly in the hands of HP - which now has a ready-made route to the mobile market.
The early favourite, HTC, pulled out very quickly and since then there has been a whole lot of speculation: RIM, Microsoft, Motorola - strangely, as these are all companies with their own mobile technologies to push and then Lenovo and Huawei - obviously trying to tap into the speculation about Chinese companies wanting a bigger toe-hold in the west.
Certainly, if there's one company that's going to make this work, it's probably HP. The company has a history of buying major players: DEC(once the second biggest computer company in the world), Compaq and 3Com ( the pioneer in LAN technology) have all ended up at HP and the company was lacking a strong mobile brand. There's also a connection there -3Com at one stage, owned US Robotics, which owned Palm.
We can't buy technology for sentimental or nostalgic reasons but there's a little part of me that's very pleased that Palm has some mileage left. I owned one of the Palm Pilots back in the mid-90s and while it was a clunky as hell and Graffiti took some getting used to, it seemed amazingly revolutionary back then (never having had the chance to see Go's efforts). But then it fell from grace and to many people, Palm seemed like a brand as stuck in time as the minidisk player.
While some eyebrows have been raised at HP paying for an all-cash deal, at $5.70 a share, it's true to say that HP has not overpaid - even if there were some analysts who thought that Palm was essentially worthless.
What's particularly interesting is that this is a deal that will play well within enterprises. Other potential suitors had Palm being snapped up by companies with strengths in the consumer space but Palm's strength has been in the enterprise space and that's obviously an area where HP is a a key player. HP is now in a position to dump the ill-fated iPAQ and build a new mobile division based around Palm's WebOS - a technology that has gathered many plaudits - but where praise hasn't been translated into sales. It will certainly give a boot up the backside to RIM, which has been coasting in the enterprise thanks to a lack of serious competition.
As for HP, it now has a serious mobile player to complement its PC and server business. Ally that with its new-found interesting in switching and we have a company that really could provide a complete end-to-end enterprise technological solution: something that will be attractive to any IT manager.
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