Unnamed sources told Bloomberg that Hewlett Packard is looking to sell some of its mobile computing patents to help CEO Meg Whitman bolster the company's financial position. The company has reportedly approached potential buyers about its portfolio of patents including those related to webOS, which the company acquired after purchasing Palm Inc. back in 2010.
Two unnamed individuals who actually reviewed the patent portfolio claims that HP has removed some restrictive conditions in recent months that previously made these patents somewhat unattractive to buyers. Now the portfolio is a bit more appealing and should bring in a higher price, the unnamed sources said.
As Bloomberg points out, patents have become a new form of currency in today's market, whether it's through acquisitions or by forcing other companies to pay a fee for using tech that could possibly infringe on a related patent. Google reportedly paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility mostly for its patents; AOL agreed just last year to license its patents to Microsoft for $1.06 billion.
After failing to make webOS a lucrative platform in 2011, the company turned it into an open-source project and re-branded it as a wholly-owned subsidiary called Gram. However, earlier this year the company sold the webOS code to LG Electronics, but kept the patents, only to license them back to LG. Sources said this agreement will likely not encumber HP's ability to sell the webOS patents.
Bloomberg reports that Whitman, in her third year, is finally stabilizing revenue after the company spent several years trying to recover from management turmoil and declining sales in the PC market. Currently, the company is focusing on two operating systems instead of just Windows, throwing Android into the mix.
The company's only webOS tablet, the TouchPad, lasted less than two months on the market in 2011 before it was discontinued. HP seems to have more luck with Android and Windows 8, as the company is currently reporting that its 7 inch Slate 7 Extreme with Nvidia's Tegra 4 is already sold out (opens in new tab).