HP to acquire Palm for $1.2 billion

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Perhaps the headline here should be, "HTC doesn't acquire Palm." In any event, our question from last week, "What if nobody wants Palm?" has just been rendered moot: Hewlett-Packard has just announced it has agreed to acquire the assets of Palm Inc. for $5.70 per share, or approximately $1.2 billion.

HP's announcement cites webOS in the first paragraph, indicating that the operating system was key to the company's offer.

The Personal Systems Group will apparently get control of the technology; what it will do with the people behind it is an unanswered question. HP Executive Vice President Todd Bradley's statement reads: "Palm's innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP's mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices. And, Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team. The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing, and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share. Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities, and HP intends to be a leader in this market."

Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein delivered the usual note of excitement to be working with HP, but that doesn't answer the principal question of the Palm employees' fate. We may know that for certain in about a half-hour, when HP delivers a press conference.

Another era: The bustling activity of the Palm booth at the COMNET conference in Washington, DC, November 15, 2000.

The above photo was taken just four months after network hardware maker 3Com spun off from Palm and became an independent company. Earlier this month, HP completed its acquisition of 3Com for $2.7 billion in cash.

Since Palm has been very publicly struggling with profitability, dozens of publications in the last few months have weighed in with an editorial about who should have bought Palm.

Business Insider--Cisco should buy Palm

Engadget-- HTC should buy Palm

Gizmodo-- Google should buy Palm

Intomobile--RIM should buy Palm

All Things Digital--Intel should buy Palm

GigaOM -- Motorola should buy Palm

Betanews--Microsoft should buy Palm

and, of course Nobody should buy Palm.

HP, a company whose mobile presence was limited to a single smartphone in the last year, however, was largely overlooked.

5:30 pm ET April 28, 2010 · This early comment on the incredible news from Betanews contributing analyst Carmi Levy: "This is an abject lesson in why you can't let your existing IP -- in this case, the iPaq brand -- go stale. If HP had given its mobile unit the care and feeding it deserved through much of the decade, it wouldn't have had to buy Palm. Which begs the question of whether HP has what it takes to grow the battered seedling back into a competitively healthy player. I like the complementary potential between the two. It's the track record of both that gives me pause."

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