HP's Palm purchase: pundits pontificate

So Hewlett-Packard is buying Palm. Who saw that coming? In IT Blogwatch, bloggers analyze and strategize.

By Richi Jennings. April 29, 2010.

(HPQ) (PALM)

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Brian Kownacki...

  Carmi Levy thinks laterally:

It's been clear for years that Palm simply couldn't make a go of it on its own ... if the company hoped to remain relevant in today's fast-evolving mobile marketplace. ... the HP buyout is hardly a surprise, and it represents the best possible outcome for Palm. ... Not even Apple can compete with ... [HP's] global reach.

...

The clock is ticking for HP, and its corporate leadership -- spearheaded by Tom Bradley ... knows it. Bradley was once Palm's CEO. ... Apple and Google ... have nothing to fear. It'll take ... a year to 18 months for HP to integrate what it's just bought. ... Palm will never again be a #1 player. ... Even so, dominance isn't necessarily HP's near-term goal here. ... HP will be selling Palms in places Apple and Google can only dream about. And with a global manufacturing influence that makes Apple look puny.
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Brian Barrett and John Herrman "rejoice":

This could only be good for anyone looking for a neat, solid smartphone that beats Google and Apple in many areas. ... HP's not just acquiring Palm's hardware; the real crown jewel here is webOS, which ... could apply to a number of mobile devices. Most enticingly: tablets.

...

HP's made a significant investment thus far in their TouchSmart interface, and while it's a fine skin it can only stand to gain from webOS insights. ... Pre and Pixi ... were first-gen products. ... HP's massive resources will give [Palm] the kind of time it needs to spread its wings. ... Imagine a ... Pre II ... with WVGA resolution; with a Snapdragon processor; with a genuinely responsive interface.

...

With this purchase comes a wealth of ... patents spanning decades. ... [But] the most exciting possibility here [is] the webOS tablet. ... WebOS has a more intuitive interface than Android, and better notification system ... and prodigious social networking abilities. ... This would be awesome.
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Matt Burns helps out with HP's roadmap:

HP ... [has to have] major plans in the works to leverage webOS and slam out some killer consumer devices. This could be huge.

...

Of course a webOS tablet makes sense. ... Expect multiple webOS phones targeting the high, mid, and low price points. ... There’s nothing stopping HP from stripping away the cellular goods and outing a sexy media player — or two. ... A webOS DreamScreen. ... webOS in the corporate world.
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But Adam Lashinsky lashes out at the deal:

Let this be a cautionary tale for all sorts of reasons: Managerial hubris ... Investor hubris ... No company can do everything.

...

By buying Palm, HP gets very good technology, some outstanding people, and existing carrier contracts. ... [But] HP is years behind Apple, though. Apple ... is the sole unconditional winner. At least for now.
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Sharon Machlis offers a Pre owner's view:

WebOS is a nice operating system ... already an able competitor. What it needs right now is marketing muscle. It needs a company that can entice developers. ... As a Palm Pre owner, it's been somewhat disheartening watching webOS move down into also-ran territory when it comes to available applications.
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And Preston Gralla is his usual self:

I'm putting the HP buyout of Palm in the "What were they thinking?" category. ... WebOS is ... being beaten badly, by the Blackberry, Android, and iPhone. Waiting in the wings is Windows Phone 7. Things were going badly enough for Palm. But now they could go worse.

...

Carly Fiorina ... will forever be remembered for the botched Compaq buyout. ... Mark Hurd ... may be remembered as the man who overpaid for Palm.
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  Harry McCracken is more optimistic:

When a huge old-school company buys a ... little one, my instinct is ... to be worried. There are far more examples of such mergers failing than there are of ones that have thrived.

...

But let’s play optimist for a moment. ... When it comes to phones, HP is a blank slate. ... It makes sense for HP to own a mobile OS. ... HP might be able to take WebOS places that Palm couldn’t. ... A Palm without a little cloud over its head is a good thing. ... I can’t think of an outcome that would have been clearly better. ... The last time Palm was acquired, it worked out okay.
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In the name of love, Ryan Tate in the name of love:

Palm's ... stock has been cut in half over the past year, and there was a real chance that ... the company could have died, taking ... Elevation Partners ... and Bono's highest-profile investment down with it. Now Bono, dubbed America's worst investor by the investing website 24/7 Wall Street, just needs to find people who can similarly rescue Forbes and Yelp, two of his other disastrous investments.
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And Finally...
Brian Kownacki's incredible drive onto home plate
[hat tip: Mark Everett Hall via Don Tennant]



Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and a disclosure of his industry affiliations, which includes his holding of HP stock.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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