The acquisition of Palm by Hewlett-Packard was a surprise to say at least. HP essentially destroyed its own and Compaq’s personal digital assistants (PDAs) businesses several years ago and Palm had major problems with its smartphones, which lead to a natural guess that HP wanted to get Palm’s intellectual property (IP) and get back into the mobile devices business. Yet, HP claims that it does not have any plans for smartphones.
“Spend billions of dollars trying to go into the smartphone business… That doesn’t in any way make any sense. We did not buy Palm to be in the smartphone business. And I tell people that, but it does not seem to resonate well,” said Mark Hurd, chief executive officer of HP, at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch technology conference, reports ZDNet web-site.
Apparently, HP only wanted intellectual property that Palm had along with patent portfolio and, perhaps, engineers. HP has already announced plans to integrate Palm’s WebOS into its Internet-connected printers, but naturally, printers are not the limit and the world is likely to see slates, set-top-boxes and other products powered by WebOS by HP.
“We bought it for the IP. The WebOS is one of the two ground-up pieces of software that is built as a Web operating environment…We have tens of millions of HP small form factor web-connected devices… Now imagine that being a web-connected environment where now you can get a common look and feel and a common set of services laid against that environment. That is a very value proposition,” explained Mr. Hurd.
It remains to be seen whether HP will actually continue to introduce new smartphones under Palm trademark in the long-term or will simply discontinue the smartphone business. One thing is clear: there will be a lot of Internet-based devices that will feature Palm’s WebOS.