Monday, July 19, 2010

Apple, Google, and RIM all considered buying Palm

Now that Palm has become snugly ensconced in the bosom of Hewlett-Packard, HP is well on its way to using Palm’s new WebOS to create phones, PDAs, tablets, and more — in fact, it’s canceled or postponed plans to use both Android and Windows in various mobile products. It’s betting that heavily on WebOS.
But what might have happened if HP hadn’t ended up with the company?

Business Insider offers an interesting tale today about three other suitors who tried to nab Palm but failed. While the source is anonymous, the story sounds credible and is generally in line with public knowledge. Even if it’s not 100 percent on the money, it’s worthwhile as an analytical piece and a “what if” look at what could have been.

The most interesting suitor for Palm, per the interview, is Apple, which reportedly wanted Palm’s large library of patents that date back to the early days of mobile computing, beginning with the original Palm Pilot. That makes perfect sense, but what’s curious is that Apple reportedly said it would keep Palm running as a separate entity — which means continuing to develop its own line of phones — perhaps believing that Palm devices were not credible alternatives to the iPhone. This would have left Apple with two very different operating systems to support, and frankly, it sounds a little crazy. Ultimately, however, HP’s offer is said to have been (considerably) higher.
RIM, which makes the BlackBerry, reportedly had the deal locked up at one point, but in the end it didn’t bid high enough to complete it. In fact, it looks like RIM actually lowered its bid at some point during the negotiations, which opened the door for HP to sweep it away.

Another quite interesting prospective buyer, Google, is said to have considered a purchase of Palm only because Apple was interested, and never bid because it assumed Apple hadn’t either.

Lenovo also appears to have made a proposal to buy the company, but either the deal was too cheap or was going to take too long to pan out.

In the end, the spoils go to HP, a decent fit for the company and its long history of developing mobile products, and longer history of sitting the market out. Definitely looking forward to seeing how these two work together, and this little bit of back story only makes that more tantalizing.

No comments: