HP acquires Palm. Could hurt the iPadTweet
It is a fascinating development that HP has just announced that they're going to buy Palm Inc. for $1.2 billion dollars. Many of us have been fans of Palm over the years. They're the ones who basically invented the personal organizer category (or certainly brought it into the mainstream with the Palm Pilot) and over the years have continued to innovate even though the Palm distribution and market muscle was always a few steps behind their innovation.
This deal is special because the Palm Pre is actually better value than the iPhone though they don't have the same number of applications, advocates or marketing budget. They also incorporate social functionality more deeply into them. With this acquisition, HP can extend the integration between televisions, computers and mobile hardware tying into one's ubiquitous social graph because they produce all three. These devices could be made to talk to each as one family than individual products allow today. They could also have social functionality built into the actual hardware and software. For example imagine if my favorite TV channels were filtered by what my friends watched the most. And my friends list didn't come from Facebook but instead was driven by the people who I call the most frequently on my phone. Or if my mobile phone doubled up as a TV remote and charged through the TV too. The opportunities for HP to extend its own ecosystem with its products being the bridge between the office, the living room, the car and the bedroom are significant. Smart move.
What's also interesting to note about this acquisition is that Palm needed to be bought. It was fast become apparent that it couldn't survive on its own. Todd Bradley who's the EVP of the Personal Systems Group at HP was the former CEO of Palm. He knew the Palm assets and is probably thinking of using the Palm WebOS operating system in devices and platforms beyond the mobile phone. Maybe, just maybe one of those devices is going to be the HP Slate. Just as Apple has leveraged their iPhone operating system for the iPad, HP could leverage the incredibly robust Palm WebOS for its Slate offerings.
These are interesting times indeed.
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