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Palm may license webOS as alternative to takeover

updated 07:05 pm EDT, Mon April 12, 2010

Palm considering all options to stay afloat

Palm may license webOS outright if a sale to another company doesn't pan out, sources claimed on Monday. The company has so far said it has no plans to license out its platform, but Reuters has heard that such a deal would be one option. A direct investment from Elevation Partners or another firm may be an alternative.

Additionally, Palm has provided a strong hint that it may consider licensing some of its patents as a means of boosting its finances. A May 11th intellectual property event will see Palm discuss its patent collection while show hosts MDB Capital will provide a value analysis of those patents. The portfolio should be worth about $8 or $9 per share by itself, Pete Conley said in advance. No indication was given whether the analysis was done at Palm's request or simply a part of the event.

Either move would be extreme for Palm, as phone patents and webOS are considered some of its key advantages. As one of the first to release a smartphone, Palm has been relatively immune from lawsuits, even when it implemented multi-touch starting from the Pre onwards. The OS itself is also unique in having very simple but true multitasking, an advantage it would lose if others had the right to share the OS as well.

Huawei, HTC, Lenovo and ZTE have all been considered top candidates for a takeover, but no rumors have surfaced suggesting they would agree to license webOS or any of Palm's patents. [via PreCentral]

by MacNN Staff



  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The new SCO?

    If Palm is allowed to live on its own, it could become a patent troll the way SCO did. SCO tried to make money solely by suing anyone selling variants of UNIX, after their own software failed. Novell did the right thing and killed SCO in court in case you don't remember.

    Anyway, licensing seems like a less extreme alternative to pure trolling. If another company buys Palm, they could license WebOS and patent troll for things not related to WebOS. Unless that buyer is Apple or Microsoft or Nokia, who all have their own OSes, in which case the only value to the buyer would be Palm's patents.

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