As HP Evaluates Sale of webOS unit, Rival Oracle Looks Interested in Buying

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Based on sources close to the situation, international multimedia news agency NEW YORKReuters reported on Monday that technology giant Hewlett-Packard is evaluating a potential sale of its webOS software platform. Even though this sale could fetch the company hundreds of millions of dollars, it is going to be less than the $1.2 billion HP paid for Palm Inc. in 2010, according to Reuters. Per this report, as HP weighs the sale of webOS, it is being advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the sources told Reuters.

“Several technology companies have expressed an interest in buying the division, which is seen as attractive for its patents, the sources told Reuters. One of the sources named database and applications software leader Oracle Corp. as one of the technology firms showing interest in webOS.

According to Reuters, the future of webOS unit, which HP acquired when it bought Palm last year, was in jeopardy after HP decided to kill its WebOS-based TouchPad tablet following poor sales. Both, HP and Bank of America declined to comment, wrote Reuters.

BusinessInsider reporter Matt Rosoff wrote, “This seems really weird at first glance.” Oracle has no mobile business and Oracle and HP are bitter competitors, according to BusinessInsider. Also, former HP CEO Mark Hurd went to work for Oracle after being ousted from HP, and the two companies have been fighting in court since then, wrote Rosoff.

But, according to Rosoff, “Oracle could probably put its dislike of HP aside in order to put the hurt on another enemy, Google…. Palm had a lot of valuable mobile patents that HP now owns. Oracle is trying to sue Google for more than $2 billion over copyright infringement in Android.” As per Rosoff’s report, Oracle basically wants to make Android so expensive that Google can't afford to give it away any longer.

“Adding the WebOS patent portfolio to its arsenal could help in this fight,” Rosoff wrote.


Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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