Palm buyout options darken after HTC declines
Desperate, struggling Palm may be totally out of luck as one of the company’s last-ditch saviors, HTC, has walked away from a potential buyout.
A source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters that after HTC reviewed Palm’s grim books it decided there “weren’t enough synergies to take the deal forward.” What are Palm’s options?
Since everybody else turned their backs on Palm’s implosion, it appears the world’s number 4 PC brand, Lenovo, is the only one left in the running. Lenovo reportedly had more than $2.4 billion in net cash reserves at the end of 2009—with that kind of dough, it could certainly afford to nab Palm, especially if the company lowers its price due to lack of demand. Lenovo is also pursuing the mobile Internet market with the Ophone and IdeaPad U1 Hybrid tablet, so absorbing Palm could be a step into the company’s future.
WebOS was hailed as “one of the silkiest and best-designed smartphone platforms to come along in a while—it’s right up there with Apple’s iPhone OS and Google’s Android.” Still, it couldn’t move the Pre or Pixi off the shelves.
“If there’s an appropriate strategic relationship or business deal that makes sense to us then of course we would license webOS because obviously the more scale we get the more the benefit there is to us,” Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein told the Financial Times. Other smartphone makers with less-than-awesome OSes could really score on this deal.
I Will Survive
Is it all doom and gloom for Palm? According to CEO Jon Rubinstein, no. Rubinstein told the Financial Times that, bone-picking buzzards aside, he believes that “Palm can survive as an independent company. We have a plan that gets us to profitability.” I hate to sound cynical, but this doesn’t seem very likely. If Lenovo walks away and Palm doesn’t license webOS, I can’t imagine any other angel swooping down and propping Palm’s doors open.