Holy moly! That was my first reaction when I heard HP bought Palm, except replace moly with another four-letter word.
In case you missed it, both companies announced on Wednesday they have entered into an agreement where HP would buy Palm for $1.2 billion, roughly $5.70 per share. The news caught me completely by surprise. It wasn't the fact that Palm was bought that shocked me. We knew that Palm was in trouble after it reported poor first-quarter earnings and was possibly shopping itself around to potential buyers.
Though many folks, present company included, were rooting for HTC to swoop in to save the day, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer ultimately decided to take a pass. It was widely thought that Lenovo would be the next logical suitor. Obviously, the story didn't quite play out like that.
While HP was only a faint blip on my radar in this whole scenario, I'm actually excited by the prospect of the HP-Palm partnership. Palm created an absolutely amazing mobile operating system in WebOS, and it would have been an absolute shame to see it go to waste because of marketing mistakes or because Palm failed to make compelling hardware.
Meanwhile, HP has struggled in the mobile space. The company enjoyed early success with its iPaq line of handhelds, but it simply couldn't keep up with the competition as the focus shifted from PDAs to smartphones. Sure, the company released such devices as the HP iPaq 510 Voice Messenger, and the iPaq Glisten, but the company never produced a hit, and choosing Windows Mobile as its primary OS didn't help its cause, either.
Now, with WebOS, HP is instantly on the map again, and conversely, HP has breathed new life into Palm. I'll be honest. I haven't been a huge fan of HP's past smartphone designs, but at least the company has shown it can offer a variety of form factors. Plus, it sounds like HP is keen on bringing WebOS to its other products, such as netbooks and tablets, and that's exciting in and of itself.
So while HP might not have been my first choice, I think it is a good choice and look forward to seeing what comes out of the merger. What do you guys think? Do you think HP was the right company to buy Palm? Do you think the two will be able to save each other and create competitive products? Share your thoughts below.