Palm Is Up For Sale, HTC And Lenovo Consider Making Bids

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News Posted: Mon, Apr 12 2010 12:34 AM
Talk about a change of plans. Over the weekend, we heard that Palm'sboss (Jon Rubinstein) was confident that he could get things turnedaround. The company has had trouble lately keeping their stock priceafloat, and they've also had trouble moving their two webOS phones, thePixi and Pre (along with the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus on VerizonWireless). And while he may be firmly committed to Palm's futuresuccess, it seems that the success may lie in the hands of anotherparent.

According to a breaking report from Bloomberg, Palm has officially putthemselves "up for sale and is seeking bids for the company as early asthis week." The report stemmed from quotes from three undisclosedpersons familiar with the matter, and while this obviously must beregarded as rumor for now, it's not like Bloomberg to put out a reportit doesn't firmly believe is true.



Reportedly, Palm is working with Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst Partners tofind a buyer. That's a pretty typical move for a company of thismagnitude, and the report also mentioned that both HTC and Lenovo have"looked at the company and may be potential bidders." Dell, however,decided to pass. All of these situations are interesting in their ownright. HTC has been burning things up in America and around the globe;just three years ago, no one knew who HTC was, and today, it's ahousehold name. HTC seems to be doing just fine on their own. Google'sNexus One was designed and built by HTC, and most of the popularAndroid phones today have an HTC label on them. Why would HTC showinterest? It seems that HTC may be interested in something Palm owns,which is presumably something other than hardware. Palm owns a lot ofintellectual property, and HTC has already shown that they have a thingfor software with the introduction of the Sense overlay that coatsAndroid and Windows Mobile. The one thing that HTC really lacks istheir own software platform. Today, HTC simply makes hardware forsoftware companies to invade; HTC builds a phone, Google/Microsoftloads on the OS, and a final product is born. What if HTC didn't haveto rely on those software makers to create those final products? Whatif HTC sold the total package? What if Palm webOS became HTC webOS? Youcan probably see how attractive that might sound to a company alreadyestablished in the industry, and if the company finally feels thattheir time is now to break free, a sizable bid just might float out.

Now, about Lenovo. To most Americans, this probably comes as asurprise. Believe it or not, Lenovo isn't a newcomer to the smartphoneindustry. Over in China, Lenovo's OPhone is already out, and it's apretty nice looking handset. But again, Lenovo is in the same positionas HTC when it comes to software. The company currently uses Android,so they obviously have to rely on someone else before popping out afinal product. Any company worth their salt would love to do everythingin-house if it made financial sense, and if Lenovo had access to webOS,there's a better than average chance that the company could launchimmediately into the U.S. market and compete with Apple, HTC, LG,Samsung, Dell and everyone else.



Speaking of Dell, why would they pass up the offer? There have beenreports in the past that U.S. carriers saw Dell's first phoneprototypes as vanilla, and while the Mini 3 (now known as the Aero)looks pretty good, it's using a highly modified version of Android thathas tracks of AT&T all over it. But Dell has never been a softwarecompany; they've made themselves giants by selling custom hardwareconfigurations using operating systems built by someone else. Dellisn't exactly in the same position as those other guys, but we stillsay there's a missed opportunity here. As "fine" as the Aero is, it'sno Pre Plus. Though, it's possible that Dell has already invested somuch money on in-house designers, that bringing on more designers fromanother company would simply be counter-productive.

It's hard to know exactly why each of these companies is or isn'tbidding, but one thing is for sure: the smartphone industry as a wholecould see a serious shake-up if a mainstay like Lenovo or HTC getsahold of Palm's assets. In fact, we'd wager to say that Apple wouldhave a whole new problem on their hands in shaking the competition ifgiants like Palm and HTC ran together as one. It seemed like a pipedream just a few months ago, but now it's looking all the morepossible. Could the HTC HD3 have webOS on it? One can only hope.
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Goldman Sachs has money to buy another company?

I guess Palm spent to much money on those creepy commercials that scared everyone from buying one! :P

I would like to see Palm and HTC merge. Then if they could incorporate into the Android systems, they might be able to gain a sizable share of the market.

Then very soon we might see the HTC answer to the IPad, with features like the EVO that thing would rock. Imagine a totally mobile unit all in one :)

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 9:49 AM

Nah, I don't think it's the creppy commercials that doomed Palm.

Personally I don't know who'll buy the company. I don't think it'll be HTC because they already got most of the features that Palm has and Levono will possibly buy but I'm not sure of the reasons.

Hey, maybe a competitor not listed in this article will come and buy up Palm.

 

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digitaldd replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 9:57 AM

HTC manufactured the hardware for Palm's Treo smartphones, Not sure if they also manufactured the Pre and Pixi hardware for them. It would be an interesting combination, athough Lenovo would make more sense. HP is another possible suitor, I think they have been wanting to ditch Windows mobile for a while now on their iPaq's this would give them their own OS.

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sp12 replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 4:30 PM

I'm still sitting here 3 minutes later trying to figure out what Sachs has to do with smartphones.

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RyuGTX replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 5:52 PM

"Reportedly, Palm is working with Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer. That's a pretty typical move for a company of this magnitude, and the report also mentioned that both HTC and Lenovo have"looked at the company and may be potential bidders."

 

Goldman Sachs is looking for people to buy up Palm. There is no mention of Goldman Sachs being interested in buying anyone.

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Wow yeah I thought the Pre and Pixi was keeping them alive... unless they were planning on selling the company all along just so they could sell it at a higher value which isn't a bad idea. I'll be very curious as to who buys them up.  I don't think it'll give them an extreme competitive edge, but it might give them some nice resources.

I liked their WebOS better but Palm's support for Microsoft Exchange is pretty bad.

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Maybe Goldmans Brother Harry will Buy it and name the company accordingly :o

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Apr 13 2010 8:53 AM

>> I would like to see Palm and HTC merge.

Me too. No doubt Palm has enough patents that HTC could send Apple a letter asking them to please sit down and shut up with their overgeneralized claims of infringement.

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