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Amazon May Purchase Palm/webOS Remnants

Unnamed sources within HP are claiming that Amazon may purchase the remnants of Palm. The news arrives after HP kicked out former CEO Leo Apotheker and hired on Meg Whitman as a replacement, and just after Amazon revealed new Kindle devices including a 7-inch, Android-based Kindle Fire tablet.

According to the HP insider, there are a number of entities wanting to purchase what's left of Palm, but apparently Amazon is the one closest to actually finalizing a deal. Currently it's unknown if Amazon will be buying Palm’s hardware business, the webOS platform, or both. However HP is wanting to get rid of Palm "as soon as possible," so it's quite possible that HP will set up a fire sale similar to the weekend-only $99 TouchPad clearance for anyone willing to buy the former webOs/smartphone maker.

Sources also point out that former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein currently holds a vague "product innovation" role at HP’s Personal Services Group, but also joined Amazon’s board late last year. There's speculation that Amazon wants to get its hands on webOS so that it can spout Kindle tablets that don't use Google's Android OS, thus separating the Kindle brand from a sea of Android tablets flooding to the market. As it stands now, Amazon has customized "Gingerbread" on the Kindle Fire to the point that it's nearly unrecognizable.

HP's future in regards to webOS is somewhat mixed: some reports claim that the OS is on hold indefinitely, while others claim that HP plans to use webOS on other non-tablet, non-smartphone equipment. Back in July, Rubinstein even hinted to Amazon serving as a partner. There was no talk of selling off the software, but merely licensing the software out to other parties.

"We’d like a partner that would allow us to expand the webOS ecosystem," he said in an interview. "There’s a variety of different sets of a characteristics to qualify as a good partner. I would say Amazon would certainly make a great partner, because they have a lot of characteristics that would help them expand the webOS ecosystem. As to whether there’s been discussions or not… that’s obviously not something I’m going to comment about."

But if Amazon purchases what's left of Palm -- including the hardware and webOS -- the online retailer will be in an excellent position to introduce Amazon smartphones. The company already has Amazon Wireless (opens in new tab) up and running in beta form, and what it really needs is its own branded smartphone, complete with exclusive hardware an software.

HP originally paid $1.2 billion for Palm back in 2010. By comparison, Amazon will undoubtedly pay next to nothing.

  • totalgenius
    Please yes, bring it to life in more ways, show HP how it should have been done.
  • Thunderfox
    So I wonder if the 10" Kindle Fire will be a rebadged Touchpad.

    Hopefully WebOS lives up to all the hype some day. All it's had so far is false starts and big talk.
  • chick0n
    HP's ex-CEO is such retard to kill off the WebOS/Palm that they paid so much for.

    They could just say "oh due to popular demand, we will re-start the project for all our fans" and other bullcrap.
  • Palm, HP, Amazon... Thirds the charm
  • livebriand
    Due to amazon fighting against the California online sales tax laws (for retailers out of state), I'm boycotting them. It doesn't matter that they have the best mp3 service and all, they're lost my business for a LOOOOOOOOOONG time!
  • legacy7955
    If CEO Meg Whitman and HP were smart they would simply revive the webOS and the tablets as well. Most importantly they should keep the PSG and make it autonomous, so it has the ability to move faster and do a better job of meeting the needs of the marketplace. If it is a smaller group, streamline the product offerings (eliminate the cheapest offerings focus on midline and premium lines) and improve the hardware quality (they need to offering up well known quality brand names on internal devices) I think HP PCs can still be a real revenue generator.

    At some point HP must admit that moving away from such a huge and important part of their consumer business was simply a "stupid" mistake made by a CEO that was not suited to being at the helm of a huge hardware company. Why is it so hard to admit you're wrong especially if it will help your business. Arrogance usually results in failure.
  • belardo
    Why would Amazon want to PAY for a license to WebOS which HP has effectively killed?
    Who develops for WebOS anymore? Theres hundreds if not thousands of developers for Android OS... maybe a few dozen for WebOS left.

    Pretty much any Android app will work with Kindle Fire, that they approve of. They don't have to pay Google anything, pretty much. Its not the OS that is going to sell the Amazon Tablet - its how well they tie content to the devices they sell.
  • slabbo
    livebriandDue to amazon fighting against the California online sales tax laws (for retailers out of state), I'm boycotting them. It doesn't matter that they have the best mp3 service and all, they're lost my business for a LOOOOOOOOOONG time!
    What? So Amazon follows the US Constitution and you boycott them... /boggles my mind!
    Why don't you want people to keep the money they have earned? Feel free to give your money to me and just call it the slabbo tax.
  • stingray71
    WebOS is dead let it RIP. Amazon and Google should partner up imho, elevate Android to a whole new level.
  • kronos_cornelius
    I is cheaper for Amazon to fork Android if they want their own thing. Think about it, they already have their expertise in Android.

    As for the tax thing. If you willingly give money to an institution, it is called a donation, and people donate money all the time. I don't understand this confusion between a donation, and a tax law. You should not be allowed to opt out of tax money that pays for the infrastructure that made your business successful (Internet, roads, laws, police, fire department, investment in basic research, railroads, education schools and universities, regulations)

    The flip-side of the argument is, if you don't like to pay for this ready-built infrastructure (both physical and cultural), you should move somewhere where such infrastructure does not exists, therefore you won't have to maintain it (insert your favorite third world country here) instead of insisting on destroying the infrastructures that we have here.