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Apple, RIM, Google All Bid On Palm

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  • It seems to me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by breakzoidbeg (1260428) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:04PM (#32920848)
    That Palms Patent portfolio would have been the target. Palm has been around for years, and they have a deep patent well to draw from.
    • Re:It seems to me (Score:4, Informative)

      by Meshach (578918) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:19PM (#32921024)
      Agreed it seems pretty obvious. At least not "really, really weird at best" like the article says. A more reliable source [sfgate.com] says it better.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not to mention they built a better phone and OS than any of their competitors.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:34PM (#32922508)

        Right what's why they went out of business.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Right what's why they went out of business.

          Staying in business and having the best product often have little to do with each other.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Case in point: Apple.

            • by mldi (1598123)

              Case in point: Apple.

              Parent is hardly trolling. It's a well-known fact that Apple's marketing is so impressive they could sell piles of donkey shit to Warren Buffet.

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by IHateEverybody (75727)

          Right what's why they went out of business.

          Palm didn't go out of business. They are about to be bought out by HP in part because they were low on cash and were likely to go out of business in the future but there is a distinction and it is fairly important for the purposes of this discussion. Palm has suffered from a lot of self-inflicted wounds over the past ten years: constant financial restructuring, giving up control of its operating system, falling behind technologically, and struggling to catch up in

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I don't think you've seen the Pre / Pre Plus, otherwise, you wouldn't be saying that. And I'm saying this from and Android fan perspective.

          HTML/CSS based interface (which means all app scale smoothly, 40+ apps running simultaneous without even skipping a heartbeat (providing real-time snapshots of running tasks with their card system), an awesome notification system, a unified contact system (from various sites, contact lists), and had both a walled-garden/homebrew dual approach.

          Unfortunately, too many peo

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheNinjaroach (878876)
        Better OS, sure. Better phone? Ehh, I don't know about that.

        I just picked up a Palm Pre a couple weeks ago, yeah I was late to the show. The OS is really (really) nice. I prefer it over the iPhone and I think it blows Android out of the water. But the hardware isn't great and the form factor is rather bad. The phone takes 3-4 minutes to boot and must be rebooted fairly frequently. The only way to turn on your screen is to press an awkwardly placed button on the corner, even harder to get to when y
        • by wbo (1172247)
          If you have to reboot your Pre frequently then I suspect something is very wrong either with some of the software you have installed or with the phone itself. I have used my Pre heavily almost every day for a year now and the last time I had to reboot it was over 3 months ago (and that was for an OS update).

          The screen on the Pre should automatically turn on when you open the slider so you shouldn't need to be able to hit the power button to wake up the screen while the slider is open. If yours doesn't
          • Don't discount that plump aftermarket battery -- I bought one for my Pre and love it. It adds about 4mm to the dept of the thing and actually gives it a really contour in the, uh, palm. Bonus feature: No more smudgy battery cover! (Yeah, also not Touchstone, but I wasn't in love with the inductive stuff...)

            Everything the AC above said -- terrific interface, great notifications, multitasking, freedom of apps-catalog choice -- it's all true. I'll grant that I was already a big fan of Matias Duarte's interface

    • Apple vs. Nokia (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WiiVault (1039946)
      You got it! Apple for one likely wanted to use these to support their case against Nokia and as a defense as well. The way patents are given these days; a pioneering company like Palm likely has many broad patents that Nokia is "infringing" upon. And yes both Nokia and Apple are patent trolls looking to get a free lunch.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Nokia may not be a patent angel, but when it comes to patent trolling, Apple and other US companies make the rest of the world look like amateurs.

        America. The world's most litigious society blazes the trail as always!

      • Re:Apple vs. Nokia (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:17AM (#32923510)

        To me, patent trolls are companies that people are companies that don't actually create any products themselves, but just hold patents and use them to extract money from companies that do create products. They are parasites.

        Neither Apple nor Nokia are patent trolls.

        • by Shompol (1690084)

          ...just hold patents and use them to extract money from companies that do create products.

          ...or to stifle competition. This can be defined as "extracting money from customers who can no longer buy an alternative product."

          You definition is a bit narrow, and Apple definitely is a patent troll. So is Nokia.

          • ...or to stifle competition.

            That's not patent trolling. That's using patents in the way they were intended to be use. To provide a period of monopoly on an invention you've created.

            You definition is a bit narrow, and Apple definitely is a patent troll. So is Nokia.

            It sounds more like you are presenting an anti-patent viewpoint by simply calling every company that has patents on it's innovations a "patent troll". Or you're jut using it as a term of abuse for particular companies you don't like.

            Patent trolls

            • by WiiVault (1039946)
              I think you can still be a troll who abuses the system even if you ship tons of product. Certainly Nokia and Apple deserve value for their innovations, but their battle amounts to Nokia wanting to steal Apple's interface and Apple wanting to steal Nokia's GSM patents.
      • by WiiVault (1039946)
        Flamebait? Ohh Slashdot you never let me down.
    • Agree that the patent portfolio was the only reason to buy Palm. If I remember correctly, back in the day of the PDA, Palm bought HandSpring, the better device maker, and got all their patents.
    • by collinc (899981)
      Frankly, I'm surprised more people haven't put in bids yet. The Palm brand has been around for what amounts as forever in the industry. Their platform is sound. Heck their brand name alone is worth spending money on acquiring, to say nothing about their patent portfolio.
    • by ProppaT (557551)

      For Google and Apple, yes. For RIM it would have been about aquiring a new OS. RIM has desperately needed a new OS for some time now. WebOS would have done very well with the Blackberry name attached to it after RIM changed around a few things to BB it up a bit. WebOS's notification system is still ahead of its time and would have been a key feature for new BB handsets.

    • I agree with this as well there patents are worth the money plus another company might have an idea on what to do with this company how to restructure and bring back to life. But even if the company does not survive the patent portfolio is worth the money.
  • Patents? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by levell (538346) * on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:04PM (#32920854) Homepage

    I don't understand why Apple or Google (Or Nokia) would want Palm. At least if the main asset was WebOS - none of these companies would ditch the mobile OS they are backing in favour of it.

    So my wild arsed guess is that Palm had enough patents that the various companies thought would be useful in the court battles that are just beginning. But at the price a company like Palm would fetch - the patents must be valuable!

    It would fit with HP paying more - they get the patents and WebOS and they weren't previously backing a mobile OS.

    • by Tapewolf (1639955)

      It would fit with HP paying more - they get the patents and WebOS and they weren't previously backing a mobile OS.

      One slight correction, HP still make the iPaq, which runs Windows Mobile 6. Though arguably that particular mobile OS has come to the end of its piece of string.

    • by HoeDing (828412)
      The tech in webos would only scratch the surface in regards to how large palms patent portfolio must be.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is too easy.
      They'd want Palm to keep the WebOS from appearing on a competing phone.
      No need to troll.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      Well RIM really doesn't have a good OS going forward at this point. If they could integrate WebOS with their push email and messenger then use their great keyboard you could have a very hot device.
      For Apple it would be to have the patents so no one could use them to defend themselves from Apples patents.
      For Google it would be have the patents to defend themselves from Apple and probably Microsoft.
      For Nokia it would probably to have patents to use to attack Apple with.

      My sneaking feeling is that Palm has a l

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        For the most part I like your list... but I'd swap out Android's IM support and keep webOS's client (with a couple more providers supported).

        Also, the rumor is that the PDK will enable very easy porting of iPhone apps to webOS, so I'd imagine that will help bolster their app catalog.

        I recently switched from the Palm Pre to the HTC Evo. The only things I really like about the Evo better are: the hardware (though I miss my real keyboard) and the number of apps. Android itself just isn't all its cracked up to

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          The PDK will help The old SDK is just too limited.
          Okay swap the out Androids IM and add WebOS's IM.
          Actually I want my old feature phones batter life. I want two full days with recharging but that may be asking too much.
          Oh and I forgot A better media player than all of them.
          I want more format support than any of them currently offer IMHO.

  • BeOS (Score:3, Funny)

    by maliqua (1316471) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:23PM (#32921054)
    They all just wanted to release a new BeOS!!! seriously what else would you want with palm ?
  • by msauve (701917) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:27PM (#32921088)
    Apple wanted Palm's handwriting recognition technology, so they could reintroduce the Newton.
    • by fermion (181285) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @08:16PM (#32921592) Homepage Journal
      Palm did not have handwriting recognition. Palm used gesturers to represent letters.

      What palm does has, as been mentioned, is patents. Palm, along with Apple, is practically the only independent innovator in the PDA market, which we now see fully formed in the from of smartphone, a device with was instrumental in creating.

      HP was probably a little more motivated as they have seem have set a path to growth of snapping up good hardware companies with good portfolios that can then be used to create products.

      I suspect that Apple and RIM simply wanted to cut out the competition. Google, being a young company with little wisdom, would have benefitted from the hardware experience Palm.

    • Re:Isn't it obvious? (Score:5, Informative)

      by IntlHarvester (11985) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:38PM (#32922534) Journal

      To explain the joke, Palm got started selling its Graffiti software for Newton to replace Apple's dismal handmall reaquisition.

  • by postmortem (906676) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:27PM (#32921090) Journal
    They want their antenna design.
  • Marginally Useful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:37PM (#32921200) Homepage Journal

    I can see why those three would bid, but it's also clear why HP was willing to pay more - they gained something entirely new. So, they'll gain a real competitive edge from the buy, not just a fanciful IP one.

  • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:46PM (#32921296)
    HP paid $1.2 Billion. That's about $1 Billion more than it was really worth. I think Apple, RIM, and Google deliberately hobbled HP by bidding up the price but not high enough that HP would not still take that dinosaur into their house.
    • I think they had $500 million or more in cash.
    • by Chapter80 (926879)

      HP paid $1.2 Billion. That's about $1 Billion more than it was really worth.

      Something is worth what someone will pay for it. Therefore, HP paid what it's worth.

      I have no doubt that there will be a positive ROI on the purchase.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MrHanky (141717)

        By that definition, fraud doesn't exist, just FYI. It's a really fucking dumb meme you're spreading.

    • HP paid $1.2 Billion. That's about $1 Billion more than it was really worth. I think Apple, RIM, and Google deliberately hobbled HP by bidding up the price but not high enough that HP would not still take that dinosaur into their house.

      HP is famous for spending more than the target is worth - or what it si worth, but then blowing-it when it comes to selling/integrating it later

  • by CaroKann (795685) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:49PM (#32921320)
    I think these companies missed out on a good thing.

    Microsoft would gain the WebOS, plus some phone hardware. In Microsoft's hands, the WebOS could have been offered across multiple hardware platforms, creating a good competitor to Android. Or, Microsoft could have simply folded aspects of the WebOS into Windows 7.

    Nokia would have immediately regained a good, solid foothold in the US market.

    Sony would have gained a versatile OS to power its device portfolio.
    • I think any of these companies could develop an OS for less than $1.2bn and I can't see it taking them that much time either. It's not like they would have to start from scratch.
      • I think any of these companies could develop an OS for less than $1.2bn and I can't see it taking them that much time either. It's not like they would have to start from scratch.

        That's true of Nokia, since they have Meego.

        But Microsoft and Sony - Microsoft did pretty much start from scratch, it's Windows Mobile 7. And Sony has less than nothing, not even really having mobile hardware at the moment.

        For them it could have been a big boost. But Sony is for some reason staying out of Mobile, and Microsoft tur

        • by mcvos (645701)

          And Sony has less than nothing, not even really having mobile hardware at the moment.

          For them it could have been a big boost. But Sony is for some reason staying out of Mobile,

          What about Sony-Ericsson?

        • I'm sure they have at least some products that have embedded OSs in them that could be a start point. Then there's Linux and NetBSD etc. (though it would be entertaining to see M$ use them) or any number of other commercial kernels and even graphics subsystems. More than anything though, I'm sure they already have in house software development teams. It's not as if they are start-ups with no prior experience in software or UI development.
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        I doub't it.
        First they would have to wade though endless software patents and try and find none infringing ways to do things.
        WebOS is actually a really good OS for mobile devices and that is not an easy thing to make. Take a look at WinMo as an example of how hard it can be.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      Microsoft would gain the WebOS,

      Not in a million years. Remember the Kin. MSFT could buy the Pre, spend two years porting windows 7 to it then sell a few thousand units and write it off on their tax.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      MS would have killed WebOS never will they put forth anything based on linux. Their CEO called it a cancer.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      if MS had bought it ... they'd release a new phone 18 months late and then kill it after a few weeks.

      if Nokia had bought it ... it'd show up as another series of phones in their product lineup and just slot in there and be noticeable only by customers who're looking for it

      if Sony had bought it, the primary future development of WebOS would be DRM-related and the future phones will be sleek and thin, but overheat easily

    • by EEPROMS (889169)
      I can imagine it now, Microsoft buying Palm for WebOS then like the Kin it gets canned. If Microsoft purchased a race horse by the time it got through all the layers of admin crap that is Microsoft you would have a camel.
      • I can imagine it now, Microsoft buying Palm for WebOS then like the Kin it gets canned. If Microsoft purchased a race horse by the time it got through all the layers of admin crap that is Microsoft you would have a camel.

        No: by the time it was through all the "layers of admin crap", you'd have glue.

    • Agree 100%.

      Especially for Microsoft - with their funding the WebOS team could have been given the task of developing WinPhone7 (i.e. WebOS rebranded and with silverlight). They'd actually get a pretty damn good OS out of it then. Considering their current implementation is terrible (sounds like it was designed by a committee of people who've never used a smartphone) it's a no brainer.

      Plus graffiti would be perfect for tablets - it's easy to write and much more accurate than standard handwriting recognitio

  • Be Inc included (Score:5, Informative)

    by Henriok (6762) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:57PM (#32921414)
    It would have been an epic irony if Apple had bought Palm and gotten the remnants of Be Inc with it. I love the tech industry! I made a graph over the turbulent history of Palm, sorting out the finer details in the timeline. For those of you that haven't payed attention the last 20 years. http://alltommac.se/files/2010/04/palm-history-graph.png [alltommac.se]
    • by muphin (842524)
      wow by going off that graph the company is a sinking ship, so much to survive, selling off parts and then buy it back later, merging and splitting up... i have a treo somewhere at home, was good (although the touch screen would always make calls in my pocket) looks like people USE palm for its patents, get what they want then sell off the company.
    • by mgblst (80109)

      My god, that graph is a real mess, surely that is not how your brain works. You seem to be switching between people and companies and technologies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      It would have been an epic irony if Apple had bought Palm and gotten the remnants of Be Inc with it.

      Where's the irony? It would permit Steve to put the last nail in BeOS' coffin, proving how great NeXTStep 11, er, OSX is. Well, to him. Seems like a natural thing to do when you're leading a cult of personality. Maybe not logical, but then "you're holding it wrong, don't hold it like a phone" is batshit insane. Regardless, it would have made absolutely zero business sense for Apple to buy Palm. Apple does not need the tech (too late to go BeOS anyway) and would not get the customers.

      • It would have been an epic irony if Apple had bought Palm and gotten the remnants of Be Inc with it.

        Where's the irony? It would permit Steve to put the last nail in BeOS' coffin, proving how great NeXTStep 11, er, OSX is. Well, to him. Seems like a natural thing to do when you're leading a cult of personality. Maybe not logical, but then "you're holding it wrong, don't hold it like a phone" is batshit insane. Regardless, it would have made absolutely zero business sense for Apple to buy Palm. Apple does not need the tech (too late to go BeOS anyway) and would not get the customers.

        Except Palm already sold-off the remnants of Be Inc

  • The hardware is a little suspect but the OS itself is the best mobile OS out there. True multitasking, great scheduling (with support for multiple Exchange servers), integrated Facebook, etc. The messaging app is fantastic too. HP says that they won't make another phone, which is too bad. With a decent handset, WebOS is head and shoulders above anything else currently available.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by billhuey (183070)

      Yes, iPhone & Android fanboys just don't know.

      However WebOS has its fair share of nasty bugs that include a system-wide memory that forces you to reboot at some point. The messaging app is barebones and need notifications for when a user comes online.

      The cloud aware contact integration is pretty much out of this world at this point. I was able to add a simple Jabber protocol and it was able to 'join' folks I know against all existing contacts intelligently.

      The browser could be better as well, fewer bugs

      • by dave420 (699308)
        The main killer features I found were all to do with web-based service integration - pulling in your Facebook/Google/yahoo contacts into a pool where you link them together, their IMAP IDLE support, and Google Calendars support. I've yet to see anything quite as impressive elsewhere.
        • by Geeky (90998)

          The main killer features I found were all to do with web-based service integration - pulling in your Facebook/Google/yahoo contacts into a pool where you link them together, their IMAP IDLE support, and Google Calendars support. I've yet to see anything quite as impressive elsewhere.

          Actually I hated the integration of contacts and don't use it now. When I want to make a phonecall I don't want to be wading through dozens of people I only know on Facebook. It just clutters the address book.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      HP says that they won't make another phone, which is too bad.

      No, HP said no such thing.

      There will be more phones using webOS.

      What the HP CEO said, which was misinterpreted, was that there would also be non-phone devices using webOS: printers, pads, etc.

    • by mgblst (80109)

      HP did not say they will not make another phone, a new Palm phone is very likely.

  • I mean, really, who cares if whatever they'd use it for would be in beta for five years?

    RIM over-complicates every step of working with their devices and has a system deliberately created with a central, single point of failure.

    I don't think I need to describe to the Slashdot crowd why Apple should keep away.
  • They wanted the rights to BeOS. :)
  • Although they'd probably have been better off donating a few million to http://www.gorilla-haven.org/ [gorilla-haven.org] to get Pimlico's DateBk6 (http://www.pimlicosoftware.com/ [pimlicosoftware.com]). I'm still amazed at how relatively crappy the calendar and address book apps are on Blackberries 10 years after people figured it out properly on the Palm, and I don't think I've ever heard of anyone being truly happy with address books on any of the big smartphones.
  • Google bid up 4G Spectrum to force the neutrality rule.

    Verizon and AT&T both bid up the other's acquisitions in order to cost them money. Some of it may have been to get what's left of Palm, but I bet the Majority wanted the other to overpay for that patent portfolio.

  • Um, because there is a large user base out there that needs a migration path? Because some of us still have Palm memo, contact, and calendar databases?

  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday July 16, 2010 @09:39AM (#32925370) Homepage Journal

    Because HP isn't in the OS business, yet. Think about it, right now, HP is beholden to Microsoft for stuff to run on their hardware. And right now, it is clear that MS is screwing up right and left in anything OTHER than a desktop OS/Office suite. They have *no* mobile solution. And mobile is the future.

    Apple has lead the way, and Google is catching up fast. We're not sure where RIM is, but they have annoucned a Tablet, which means that *maybe* they have an OS for it.

    But HP's "slate" will be an abysmal failure, UNLESS they have a killer OS ... something that can take on the iPad and really revolutionize the market. And who has a Tablet OS that's actually good enough to take on Apple?

    Why, that would be Palm. Poor Palm, hamstrung by lackluster marketing and so-so hardware, with mediocre sales as a result. Yet, their OS (and patent portfolio) is so valuable, I'm surprised half of Silicon Valley isn't trampling over each other to get it.

    A Tablet running WebOS could actually compete with the iPad. *If* if were marketed properly, and *if* the hardware was good too. Ironically, HP is the only company I would trust to make decent hardware, even after the purging of all their good engineers due to Carly. But they have the muscle and the East Asia contacts to make it happen.

    In other words, HP could make Microsoft irrelevant in the mobile marketplace... With Google playing catch-up. Now wouldn't *that* be ironic?

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