When it came to struggling Palm something had to give, and give it did. In a surprise move, cash rich HP stepped in and scooped up the troubled company for a measly 1.2 billion dollars, a mere fraction of what it was worth not that long ago, and the primary reason was to get access to its WebOS.
Personally, if anyone purchased Palm I was hoping that it would have been Apple, because Palm has traditionally been a thorn in its side ever since it took over the PDA market that Apple first created with its unsuccessful Newton Message Pad. Had Apple purchased Palm, it could have pull that thorn from out of its side and it could have secondarily prevented others from using Palm's extensive patent portfolio to help shield themselves against Apple's own multi-touch patents, and, in addition, Apple could have picked up Palm's considerable engineering talent that it could have readily employed on the iPhone and iPad.
As HP put it, "We're doubling down on WebOS" , which means that not only does Apple have to continue to put up with the Pre and Pixi, but more importantly, HP plans to scale down WebOS to other devices such as its upcoming Slate tablet. With a full blown desktop such as Windows 7 or Android on board, it was believed that the Slate, no matter what advantage its hardware specs gave it, was still at a considerable disadvantage when competing with Apple's own iPad because its use of the iPhone OS. Tablet OS's, such as the iPhone OS, are seen as being simply better equipped, making them lighter, less buggy and thus faster to use in tablets since they are so much less resource hungry.
Up until now, some people have felt that Apple's best response towards Palm was to basically to just do nothing, and simply allow Palm to continue to do what it has been doing best - namely, 'being successful at being unsuccessful' in the market place. All Apple had to do, in the end, was just to let Palm run itself into the ground, and el-presto - the end of the story. With little money and resources to take on Apple, on the surface, that makes some sense, but not so with HP with buying Palm.
HP isn't Palm, it is instead a giant among tech giants, but again so too is Apple. In fact, Apple is a much bigger company than HP, and not to mention, a much, much richer company with far deeper pockets. So what does HP's take over of Palm mean for Apple? Will it be good or bad for the Cupertino giant? The answer is that nobody, other than God Himself, can really know the future, but for one thing I can't see how it helps Apple in anyway, shape or form. On the other hand, likewise it doesn't mean it will eventually hurt it that much either For one thing, HP is a much more conservative company than Palm who apparently thought it could just willy-nilly do pretty much what it wanted to do with Apple's own multi-touch patents, and as well, iTune's syncing. Will HP do the exact same? I doubt it, but the war between Apple and the rest of the tech world to blatantly use its multi-touc patents is probably about to get a little more complicated and a lot more interesting.
In conclusion, how will HP's buyout of Palm effect Apple?
Again, that will depend on what HP does next with Palm's patents and specifically what it does with WebOS, and how Apple responds. All we know for sure is that Apple has just begun to stick up for its multi-touch patents by launching a direct fight against HTC, and and thus an indirect fight against Google's Android and all other comers, so it's going to be really interesting to see just how HP handles the issue of multi-touch as currently employed in WebOS, and how this will end up effecting how everyone else reacts to the idea of employing one or more of Apple's multi-touch patents. This is one area that Apple simply can't afford to ignore or especially to lose!
And that's my 2 cents 4 this Thursday, April 29, 2010
HP modified Palm logo via: Engadget