HP to Buy Palm for $1.2 Billion

And here we thought HP’s new app store was going to be the news of the day. The world’s leading computer maker just announced that it would acquire the struggling Palm at a price of $5.70 per share of Palm common stock in cash, which equates to $1.2 billion. According to the press release issued by HP, Palm’s current chairman and CEO, Jon Rubinstein, is expected to remain with the company when the deal closes on July 31. So, does this mean that we’ll be seeing smartbooks with WebOS? What questions would you like us to ask HP and Palm? What do you think would the the best device to come out of these two companies coming together? Update: We just got off the HP/Palm conference call. The two companies dodged many questions regarding financial particulars (these will become clear in an SEC filing, soon to come) as well as details about the combined companies’ product roadmap. HP and Palm promised that more details would become available after the acquisition closes, sometime “toward the end” of Q3. However, HP did all but confirm our webOS tablet fantasy, saying part of the reason Palm was an appealing buy is that its webOS is scalable to devices with larger form factors. No one uttered the word tablet, but we think it’s a likely choice. HP also said that Palm’s developer community, the operating system’s ease of development, the growing app catalog, as well as Palm’s rich IP portfolio made it an attractive investment. A few more confirmations: HP will still partner with Microsoft, despite its acquisition of Palm and its webOS. Finally, Palm pledged to heavily invest in both R&D as well as sales and marketing for its next generation of webOS mobile devices. A smart move, given that Palm’s ads got the promising platform off on the wrong foot in wooing consumers.

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