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Apple was outbid by HP for Palm acquisition - report

post #1 of 43
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Apple reportedly sought to purchase its smartphone rival Palm earlier this year, but was outbid by PC maker HP, which paid $1.2 billion for the struggling company.

Dan Frommer at Silicon Alley Insider on Thursday reported that Apple was in the race to buy Palm, along with Google and Research in Motion. That information comes from an anonymous source familiar with the negotiations.

"Apple was mostly interested in Palm's huge library of intellectual property and patents (450+ patents on file, another 400+ applications on file)," the report said. "And unlike some other bidders, Apple even seemed committed to funding Palm's operations, perhaps to challenge RIM's dominance in the keyboarded segment of the smartphone industry, our source says."

Frommer also said that Google was interested in Palm's intellectual property too, but was allegedly more interested in the company because it "thought Apple might want it. But Google supposedly didn't know Apple was bidding for Palm, so it didn't proceed."

But HP ended up sealing the deal, and now owns Palm's creations, including its much-touted webOS mobile operating system. The company plans to use webOS on future tablet devices that it hopes will compete with Apple's own iPad, also based on an operating system originally created for a smartphone.

Palm and Apple have one significant connection in Jon Rubinstein, who helped to invent the iPod for Apple. He is credited with discovering the 1.8-inch hard drive within Toshiba's labs, and placing it inside Apple's iconic portable music player. Rubinstein later retired from the company, where he was was last the vice president of the iPod division, in 2005.

Two years later, Rubinstein joined Palm, and just last year, with when its Pre smartphone went on sale, he was named the new chief executive of the company.
post #2 of 43
The most interesting part of the original article was how close RIM came to buying them. RIM's original bid was substantially higher than the bid HP won with, but revised their bid to just below HPs bid and lost.

RIM has done very well as a company main led by engineers with nowhere near the vision that Apple has. Had they won and had an infusion of palm (and so a bit of Apple) they could have become a serious threat to Apple in the consumer space.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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post #3 of 43
It might have made sense for Apple to buy Palm... they could have used Palm as a way to compete against Google on Verizon's network, while always making sure that Palm was just a little behind the iPhone. Plus there's all the IP. Oh well, maybe Apple has better ideas for how to spend their cash.
post #4 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

The most interesting part of the original article was how close RIM came to buying them. RIM's original bid was substantially higher than the bid HP won with, but revised their bid to just below HPs bid and lost.

RIM has done very well as a company main led by engineers with nowhere near the vision that Apple has. Had they won and had an infusion of palm (and so a bit of Apple) they could have become a serious threat to Apple in the consumer space.

Yeah, I agree.

It seems some business-head at RIM may have thought they could hardball the price (since Palm was desperate at the time), and perhaps lost the whole deal. RIM + Palm would make for better competition than HP ever will.

I still like the iPhone far better than any of the alternatives though, (and especially kind of despise Android), so having Apple buy up Palm would be my best case scenario. Too bad neither scenario will ever happen now.
post #5 of 43
Interesting.. Can you imagine combining webOS tech with iOS? This would've put Apple on multiple U.S. carriers too..
post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Yeah, I agree.

It seems some business-head at RIM may have thought they could hardball the price (since Palm was desperate at the time), and perhaps lost the whole deal. RIM + Palm would make for better competition than HP ever will.

I still like the iPhone far better than any of the alternatives though, (and especially kind of despise Android), so having Apple buy up Palm would be my best case scenario. Too bad neither scenario will ever happen now.

Agreed on all points. RIM realized they overbid, but dropped the followup too far. I would stay with Apple, but it would have been interesting to see what the result of Apple DNA (via Palm) being infused into RIM would have produced. They have some great engineering talent, but if they want into the consumer space, they need something to match Apple's finesse.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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post #7 of 43
I'm glad that Apple lost the bidding. It means that there is a chance that HP will create something wonderful. I've read that HP usually screws up acquisitions and products from other companies. I hope this time they let the WebOS guys create something then just build it without screwing it up.

Competition is a good thing, especially when the other company is capable of funding research into new things without worrying too much about funding.
post #8 of 43
Apple's interest was definitely in the intellectual property. I think they're scared that Palm held the rights to some of the features of iOS. Imagine what would happen to Apple if some judge granted an injunction on sales of all iOS devices.
post #9 of 43
Let me guess: Palm had a patent on how to hold a mobile phone in the palm of your hands without a problem?
post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmrtzzz View Post

Let me guess: Palm had a patent on how to hold a mobile phone in the palm of your hands without a problem?

Jesus, we couldn't go 10 posts without some dumb ass troll blowing off topic and bringing up the antenna issue.
post #11 of 43
What this article tells me is that much like in the bidding war against Google for AdMob, Apple is willing to open their pocketbooks if they feel if it's in their best interests, but they are not willing to overpay for anyone despite their huge war chest. That's important for shareholders. I'm sure that they weighed the pros and cons of paying patent fees over a number of years versus the benefits of owning the IP outright over a number of years. It seems unlikely that Apple would have continued WebOS in any form outside of continuing support of existing users. Despite RIMs dominance in the hard-keyboard market, few people complain that the iPhone doesn't have a keyboard anymore, especially in the era of Android where the majority of those new phones are all touchscreen only interfaces.

For the other bidders, they had their own objectives for acquiring Palm. RIM wanted the IP but they need the overall tech of the Palm OS far more than Apple does. I'm sure that Apple feels hiring HP's engineer responsible for WebOS' notification engine was a far cheaper play than paying too much for Palm.

Google, like Apple, just wanted the IP since they thought Apple was going might be playing for it (much like the AdMob acquisition). But I suspect they realized that Wall Street thinks they paid too much for AdMob (especially since Apple had a second choice M&A target) so they would not make the same mistake again.

That leaves HP which actually wanted to use WebOS for other things in their product strategy. A lightweight version of WebOS in devices like printers would be a far better interface than what's in HP's current products. And it gave them a platform for tablets and phones they didn't have otherwise which means they wouldn't have to depend on Microsoft or Google for OSes. The IP ownership was a bonus. In the end, that was worth $1.2 billion for HP.
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

It might have made sense for Apple to buy Palm... they could have used Palm as a way to compete against Google on Verizon's network, while always making sure that Palm was just a little behind the iPhone. Plus there's all the IP. Oh well, maybe Apple has better ideas for how to spend their cash.

As a shareholder, I am glad the transaction didn't happen. That amount of money is better spent on new product development for the iPhone than securing patents. After all, with their cash reserve, they can afford some good lawyers. And from the looks of things, it seems like webOS will die a slow death at HP...what better outcome can you ask for really.
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post

Jesus, we couldn't go 10 posts without some dumb ass troll blowing off topic and bringing up the antenna issue.

What makes him a troll?

The fact that he or she only submitted ten posts to your 109?

The fact that he or she registered close to six months before you?

It is you who brought up the word antenna not him? It is Apple's problem that this has gone on to the extent that it has that one can merely say "hold a mobile phone in the palm of your hands without a problem" and have those in the loop know what that means. Does that make them a troll? He has the word "Palm" in his post and you don't and what is the subject about? Palm acquisition!

I don't see troll. I see someone who has the same slapstick comedy mentality that can be found in many a posts I submitted!

Oops, I guess that makes me a troll...

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

What makes him a troll?

The fact that he or she only submitted ten posts to your 109?

The fact that he or she registered close to six months before you?

It is you who brought up the word antenna not him? It is Apple's problem that this has gone on to the extent that it has that one can merely say "hold a mobile phone in the palm of your hands without a problem" and have those in the loop know what that means. Does that make them a troll? He has the word "Palm" in his post and you don't and what is the subject about? Palm acquisition!

I don't see troll. I see someone who has the same slapstick comedy mentality that can be found in many a posts I submitted!

Oops, I guess that makes me a troll...

Oh, well, yeah, you are a troll. And no, you aren't a comedian.
post #15 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmrtzzz View Post

Let me guess: Palm had a patent on how to hold a mobile phone in the palm of your hands without a problem?


Actually, best post since a while now.
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post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

It might have made sense for Apple to buy Palm... they could have used Palm as a way to compete against Google on Verizon's network, while always making sure that Palm was just a little behind the iPhone.


Apple has never done anything like that as far as I remember. They acquire companies and close the doors.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #17 of 43
Another 'anonymous' source. Why can't these sources allow their names to be used? Oh....we might see their real intentions.....stock manipulation.
post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmrtzzz View Post

Let me guess: Palm had a patent on how to hold a mobile phone in the palm of your hands without a problem?

That's just wicked! Funny, but still wicked! Made me laugh!

Best
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2992 View Post


Actually, best post since a while now.

Yeah kind of funny it is. Now Apple has to buy HP to get the mentioned patent.
post #20 of 43
I just read the original article. What the Appleinsider piece didn't mention was why Nokia didn't play.

I would think that Nokia would have the greatest reason of all to acquire Palm. Symbian isn't considered a leading smartphone OS by anyone and a portfolio of WebOS phones could have really changed the balance of power in the smartphone game, especially outside of the US. They certainly could have delivered a WebOS tablet. And it might have made the whole Apple vs. Nokia legal battle over IP a lot more interesting.

But they didn't seem to play at all, which is mystifying.
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

Yeah kind of funny it is. Now Apple has to buy HP to get the mentioned patent.

An interesting idea, but not necessary. HP probably makes a fair amount of money on licensing their IP (much like IBM) so I suspect that it wouldn't have been that hard to cut a deal. It's just another line of business for them.
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple reportedly sought to purchase its smartphone rival Palm earlier this year, but was outbid by PC maker HP, which paid $1.2 billion for the struggling company.


Brilliant! They did the same thing with that ad company: Bid up the price to WAY more than it is worth, and then let your competitor grossly overpay.

It looks like HP isn't any smarter than Google.
post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

... Oh well, maybe Apple has better ideas for how to spend their cash.

New iPhone design perhaps ?
post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

I'm glad that Apple lost the bidding. It means that there is a chance that HP will create something wonderful. I've read that HP usually screws up acquisitions and products from other companies. I hope this time they let the WebOS guys create something then just build it without screwing it up.

Competition is a good thing, especially when the other company is capable of funding research into new things without worrying too much about funding.

I hope HP doesn't screw it up as well. I think Web OS is as good any mobile platform out there. The issue with Web OS is hardware.The only problem is that many of the talented people that were at Palm are jumping ship.

I enjoy having many different OSs to choose from. It will only push the web towards more standards. I only wish the desktop market had taken the same route instead of just bowing to MS.
post #25 of 43
Anonymous source again! More idle gossip. /sigh
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

I hope HP doesn't screw it up as well. I think Web OS is as good any mobile platform out there. The issue with Web OS is hardware.The only problem is that many of the talented people that were at Palm are jumping ship.

I enjoy having many different OSs to choose from. It will only push the web towards more standards. I only wish the desktop market had taken the same route instead of just bowing to MS.

Yep, I actually used to be very fond of Palm myself. It used to be the leading mobile operating platform (originally PalmOS). Then beeing run over by cheap WinMobile devices. They lost their edge. I wonder what will happen to them at HP's, since HP doesn't have the best reputation anymore either?
post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Anonymous source again! More idle gossip. /sigh

Finding rumors on a rumors site. I can understand your disappointment!
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post #28 of 43
Motorola needed to buy Palm! They needed the software expertise and a smartphone OS -- now they are splitting up Motorola, so sad. MOT fell way behind into virtual irrelevancy... Everyone is doing Android phones now, so MOT has no real IP to set themselves apart. Maybe HP should buy MOT's cellular phone business?
post #29 of 43
So Palm was a company that told people how to hold their phone's the "right way", I had no idea there was a patent on that, is that why everyone was annoyed when Job's did it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmrtzzz View Post

Let me guess: Palm had a patent on how to hold a mobile phone in the palm of your hands without a problem?
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post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Apple has never done anything like that as far as I remember. They acquire companies and close the doors.

That is patently false, proved by current news: the A4 chip inside the iPhone 4 and iPad was the direct result of their acquisition of PA Semi and it's integration into the entire company. iAds were the product of a smaller advertising firm that Apple bought, Quattro Wireless. The entire Darwin family - included OS X, OS X Server, and iOS - came from them sucking in NextStep (which was when Jobs returned to the company).
post #31 of 43
Palm would be the iPhone mini Ah what could have been.
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post #32 of 43
Ipot to Super Palm phone????? I dont think so.http://forums.appleinsider.com/image...ies/1oyvey.gif
post #33 of 43
Apple always loses bids
post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

Apple always loses bids

I'm not sure it would have mattered. Getting approval from the antitrust authorities would have been a challenge.
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post #35 of 43
Now that HP owns palm they should try to make their own OS for their computers instead of using Windows. I've always like HP for some reason, I have always bought their printers and have even said, If I wasn't a Mac user I would probably use HP. They are the only PC company I really respect.
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post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreadkid08 View Post

Now that HP owns palm they should try to make their own OS for their computers instead of using Windows. I've always like HP for some reason, I have always bought their printers and have even said, If I wasn't a Mac user I would probably use HP. They are the only PC company I really respect.

Then you don't know the company. Used to make calcs and then they had a shot at other office stuff; and so that lead into 3rd rate computer's with awful reliability and build quality. I've used and owned a few of there computers. You should see there customer support! Seriously go with the high end (the ones that haven't been bought by Dell and HP), that's the place to go if you want any worth while hardware. There is no such thing as a £299 PC.
post #37 of 43
If Apple DID buy Palm (though I don't see why. Maybe there's a mad scientist still there from Palm's acquisition of Be, and he's smarter than Einstein and Stephen Hawking combined), would Steve Jobs make the detestable, treacherous Jon Rubinstein walk the plank? I'd like to see their first meeting.

If HP outbid Apple, I'd say to HP, "Take it; it's yours."

It's like those sad situations when people don't pay their rental fees on their storage units, and the company owner uses a lock cutter to open it up, then puts a big sign by the highway saying "Free stuff from delinquent storage container."

Palm amounts to that "Free stuff."

Never hire an engineer as CEO -- they don't mix. Look at Michael Spindler. Gilbert Amelio.

defender
post #38 of 43
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Originally Posted by defenderjarvis View Post

Look at Michael Spindler. Gilbert Amelio.

Bill Hewlett. Gordon Moore. Dave Packard.

Shall I go on?
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post #39 of 43
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Originally Posted by john galt View Post

Shall I go on?

Phil Condit. Jack Welch. James Truchard. George Buckley. ...
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post #40 of 43
Seymour Cray, Amar Bose, Andy Grove, Vinod Khosla, Ray Dolby...

Never say "never", defender
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