Amazon appears to be the front-runner amongst a number of companies that are in talks with HP over buying Palm and it struggling webOS business, after acquiring the company in April 2010, according to a report published last night.
According to VentureBeat, quoting “a well-placed source”, HP is looking to dump both Palm and webOS as soon as possible, which is a big backflip from its commitment to the webOS platform. In addition, Amazon’s deal with HP is the one that is nearing completion.
It should also be noted that Palm’s former CEO (and now HP’s “senior vice president of innovation” – very ambiguous) Jon Rubenstein joined the board of directors at Amazon. It also appears that he may have hinted at a tie-up with Amazon in an interview with This is My Next in July:
I would say Amazon would certainly make a great partner, because they have a lot of characteristics that would help them expand the webOS ecosystem. As to whether there’s been discussions or not… that’s obviously not something I’m going to comment about.
However, it might not look as daft as many people think. Amazon is expanding towards hardware – after expanding to the cloud – and creating a massive ecosystem with digital entertainment and online shopping. Acquiring Palm would give it hardware expertise for future tablets, and not to mention some patents it could use.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire is currently running a forked version of Google Android, removing everything Google and redesigning the entire UI to differentiate it from other Android tablets running Honeycomb (Android 3.x).
WebOS would allow Amazon to have its own operating system and even rival Google with deep integration with its services – something that would give it an advantage over Microsoft and Google, and could closely rival Apple.
Though, that’s all speculative.
Both companies are keeping quiet, though now everyone is keeping an eye on HP over who would take Palm and webOS from their hands.