September 30, 2011

Amazon Considering Buying Palm


Amazon wants to buy Palm and its somewhat antiquated webOS software.

So says the buzz in the digital business news today, led by VentureBeat, which claims well-placed sources for the news.

The biggest question is...why would Amazon want to buy one dinosaur (Palm) from the other dinosaur that currently owns it (Hewlett Packard)? Good question. (Though it's pretty easy to imagine why HP would want to rid itself of Palm, which it has largely abandoned since the fast and embarrassing belly-flop of its TouchPad, the company's attempt at a tablet device, earlier this year.)

Hard on the heels of the hot launch of Amazon's impressive-looking Kindle Fire tablet device, the world's biggest online retailer may be trying to grab a little technology that will help it differentiate itself in the future from other Android (News - Alert) devices. (Though the Kindle Fire is built on the Android Platform, VentureBeat notes that it's heavily customized by Amazon, which may be looking to further customize future releases by having free reign to re-invent the webOS software and use the bits they like.)

VentureBeat notes that rumor may be bolstered by the fact that former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, now in a product innovation role at Hewlett Packard's Personal Services Group, joined Amazon’s board late last year. HP, when asked for comment, indicated it doesn't comment on rumors and speculation, and Amazon did not return any phone calls.

HP purchased Palm back in April of 2010 (only a year and a half ago, which feels like an eternity in the Internet age) for $1.2 billion. In the meantime, HP has engaged in a year-long game of musical CEO chairs that has most recently put former eBay (News - Alert) CEO and failed presidential candidate Meg Whitman into the top chair.

At least Palm's once-mighty and ground-breaking intellectual property may have a chance of getting off the carnival ride.



Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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