Reuters: HP pondering sale of webOS, likely to net "hundreds of millions of dollars"
Ever since HP decided that they were done making webOS hardware, we’ve been pushing, prodding, and outright calling for them to sell webOS somebody, anybody, who was willing to do something with our favorite underappreciated mobile operating system. There have been plenty of rumored suitors, though nothing solid, and recently it’s appeared that HP might even back off from a hypothetical sale and just use parts of webOS internally.
Reuters is tonight reporting that HP has enlisted the assistance of Bank of America Merrill Lynch to determine whether their financial interests would be best served by keeping or selling webOS (or both?). According to four sources ‘close to the matter,’ HP expects that any sale would result in their recouping a fraction of the $1.2 billion paid for Palm last year. Specifically, they’re expecting the sale of down-but-not-out-but-pretty-close webOS would net HP “hundreds of millions of dollars,” which is certainly more than they’re making from it right now.
Several companies are reported to be interested in purchasing webOS because of its patents (including such foundational patents as integrated handheld computing and telephony system and services, i.e. smartphone). We’ve heard plenty of rumors – Samsung, HTC, Nikon, Amazon, and now we have a new name to add: Oracle. Ironically, or perhaps not so, Oracle is where the ousted HP CEO that oversaw the company’s purchase of Palm, Mark Hurd, currently serves as co-president.