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Could Google Buy Palm?

google-buying-palmFormer Apple employee Phil Kearney – who worked on the AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express and Time Capsule at Google – just wrote an article on Gizmodo about the potential of Google buying Palm. The underlying motive? Acquisition of patents:

So what could motivate Apple to want to sue HTC? I’m in agreement with those who theorize that Apple’s HTC suit is to warn hardware manufacturers against using Android in their new product offerings. But in thinking about this issue, the one way I see that Google might be able to combat such a move would be to acquire some good patents of their own. In perusing some of the articles on the web about the Apple/HTC battle, a couple of them referred to older articles that talk about Palm and the possible patent battles between Palm and Apple. It is interesting that an Apple/Palm patent battle has not materialized thus far and, combined with Palm’s recent announcement about cutting guidance, it got me thinking: Why doesn’t Google just buy Palm, it’s a no-brainer?

Do you think Google might try to buy Palm? Will another company like Motorola, Nokia or Dell beat them to it? It’s all just speculation but interesting nonetheless. When the Palm Pre was announced it seemed Palm had immediately turned the company around… now its feeling like they’re right back where they started.

By the way… this is NOT just an out of the blue speculation. In April 2009 Google was rumored to be acquiring Palm and even hired someone to supposedly “oversee” the purchase. Rumors: will they become something more solid?

^ Early April 1st self-pwn




  • Jeff J

    CAN Google buy Palm? Considering the legal headache that is involved with the AdMob acquisition, I’m not sure. I mean in smartphones in the US, it’s pretty much Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Palm for operating systems. Would they let one buy out another? I think it’d be awesome, the more people working on Android the better, but it seems like a legal nightmare.

  • treefq

    The Pre is a nice phone. WebOS has a lot going for it. The only thing I didn’t like was ANOTHER proprietary OS. In this day that was not needed. I think Palm missed out by not having a Pre android. Of course WebOS probably predates android, I don’t know.

  • ted

    It would be nice for them to buy there intellectual property (there patents). Google has always been stead fast in there position that they are not in the hardware business.

    The patents would protect them from future lawsuits from other phone makers, most notably Apple.

  • tom

    did you read the last paragrapgh of the above ref article?

    it was an april fools joke.

  • Jordan

    A Google purchase of Palm only makes sense if they want make sure other manufacturers stop using Android. So basically, probably not going to happen.

  • mike

    Google could and should buy Palm. They would not have any problems with the purchase because there is no anti-trust issues with two smaller phone companies combining. A purchase of Palm would be two birds, eliminate a competitor and gain some patents. Palm OS is not a threat but a pre running android would be a nice phone that will never happen.

  • iDavdy

    @Jeff J

    I don’t know about that. Both Palm and Android is at the bottom of the market (with Android just beating out Palm).
    So I don’t really see how this would threaten anyone.

    Now if they were buying RIM or Windows Mobile…then yeah. But this is Palm we’re talking about. They just barely have 2 phones on the market. And those are barely selling to expectations.

  • iDavdy

    @Jordan

    Why would you say that?

  • Neemo

    Android + card view + webos menu sleekness etc. = so much win that it blows my mind.

  • Tallbruva

    WebOS may not be as popular as Android but make no mistake: WebOS has a LOT going for it. If nothing else, if Google bought Palm, Android could get the polish is needs to be the ultimate OS hands down.

  • iD999

    Why Google? Why not HTC? That would instantly give them the leverage they need against Apple.

  • Lawrence

    Actually, although it was a joke, it might be the only viable option for Palm. WebOS has its benefits, but the handsets just aren’t selling the way they need. There is too much Android hype. (rightfully so) Palm re-released and upgraded pixi and pre on verizon and though better than their predecessors, are still a little flat. There is little to be excited about for Palm. They need a device that really blows people away. Thats what the droid is, thats what the iphone was. Perhaps if the Pre had even more ram and an even better processor, perhaps a Snapdragon, I might be more excited. I like the look of the palm devices…however for the keyboard being so small it is hard to really use as my main device. I think a fully touch screen pre with higher specs could really wow people. If its not too late.

  • gwlaw99

    Google would buy Palm to be able use Palm’s patents against Apple. I guess HTC could also. Palm needs a HD2 form factor with a great built in camera, and a slew of great 3d games to make a come back. If developers really can port apps to Palm from iPhone in 2 weeks as Palm is saying, that would help as well.

  • http://symbiosoft.net/google_should_buy_palm Etienne

    I actually blog about this idea last Saturday.

    At least, I know now that I’m not the only fool thinking about it! :)

  • http://www.omgandroid.com OMG Android App Reviews

    It would be a good idea but I dont think they will do that.

  • Usman

    Anyone see the latest earnings news for Palm? Not good… the company’s entire market cap is pocket change for Google.

  • http://soft.antonspaans.com Anton Spaans

    Some analysts lowered the price-range of Palm’s stock to $0! Their stock, right now, plummeted more than 20% ( http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=PALM ).

    I hope that at least they get bought by someone for their IP. I’m an Android fan, but it would be shame to see it (WebOS) all just go away…

  • iDavey

    Go Google!

  • Samuel Maskell

    I think that would be horrible for the market as a whole really
    webOS is an excellent platform.
    it is WAY better than android in many way(obviously not in all or I wouldn’t have an android phone) and I really don’t see google integrating the good parts of webOS very well
    I’d much rather have palm do well and create some proper competition
    then again.. if google could incorporate cards and all the gestures and all that jazz from webOS it would be the mobile OS to end all mobile OS’s

  • Matthew Lenz

    web os is more google and android is google. the should definitely do it. android really should just die and they should have everyone move to web os. web os and chrome os could be merged as concepts.

  • Brian Hanifin

    Assuming Google is interested in acquiring Palm, Palm would have to be willing to give up the fight. Personally I think without Android, Palm would be doing really well as an alternative to Microsoft and Apple. But since Palm’s market share is so low and the future is not looking too bright, I wouldn’t imagine there would be too many objections to the merger.

    In addition to the patents I don’t see any reason Google wouldn’t want to add a few of their talented engineers to their Android team. It would be nice to see some of the best features of WebOS in Android 3.0. After all both WebOS and Android are Linux based.

  • paul

    HTC should buy Palm. Dump the WebOS, but keep the patents and even counter sue Apple, and maybe even integrate some of the hardware.

  • Dan

    > Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Palm for operating systems.

    I think you forgot RIM. And maybe Nokia…

  • Alex

    What they should do is license out WebOS to other companies like what they did for the old Palm OS. I’d like the see the resurrection of the CLIÉ or an HTC phone using WebOS that would be an awesome phone.

  • http:phandroid.com dannydarko

    I have said before that if you mash up Web OS with Android it would be an even more Unbeatable OS.I am an Androiddict to the core! but, Web OS has some keen features that have been implemented well into it.So, it could only benefit Android further.So , that said, they probably won’t buy Palm but, in my opinion they should.

  • Kage

    If Google bought Palm, Google would no longer need to rely on HTC for being its primary hardware provider. Google could just use Palm for the hardware side, but also for taking ideas/designs from WebOS without any hassle from Palm. But alas, this most likely won’t happen since Palm seems to be a pretty stubborn company.

  • sw1storm

    If Google Buys Palm….GET OVER HERE! FATALITY. G A M E O V E R !

  • deee

    What about OHA buying Palm ?

  • tomeaine

    Has Google purchased any device manufacturers before?
    looking up the acquisituions wiki, looks like they never have.
    so to go out and purchase them for the sake of a few patents, doesnt make sense..but then again..google is google.

  • Jose

    Palm is dead already. However, Google does need to bolster it’s patents against an Apple attack. Since there are plenty of American & international handset makers around, & Palm’s market-share is really small & so is Google’s, I can see this getting approved even in the E.U. HTC does Google’s phones so they don’t currently make their own handsets. However, if they sold off the hardware part of Palm to another company, I could see it going through rather smoothly.

    Google then would say, we have these patents from Palm that have gestures, touch, multi-touch, etc. Apple’s 20 claims are invalid via prior patents & prior art. Maybe Palm’s patents could then be used to convict Apple of violating Palm’s, Nokia’s, & HTC’s patents. Then force Apple to deal directly with Google, a major cross-licensing deal. I’m hoping this is the endgame for this anti-competitive move by Apple.

  • gwlaw99

    Would apple buy Palm just so google or htc couldn’t use their patents to counter sue?

  • tomeaine

    if palm is so hurting for cashflow, why not sue apple?

  • cloudyview

    >Would apple buy Palm just so google or htc couldn’t use their patents to counter sue?

    Apple is too big in the mobile market, I don’t think the FTC or the EU would allow that one to go through.

    As much as I’d love to see a succesful Palm, I want to see android succeed more, and I think Google would be stupid to not even try to purchase Palm for how small their market cap now is. It would give them such an advantage for patents, developers, software, hardware….just everything. It gives them a miniature model to build up into a beast of an operating system. Not to mention all the niceties and slickness of WebOS that could be integrated into Android.

  • http://thetrendaholic.com The Trendaholic

    @Jose I like your thinking, it’s simple sell the hardware to avoid more overhead and keep Palm’s software side to dominate mobile OS as it is today.

  • http://www.futuresgraphics.com Noah Williams

    Why doesn’t Google just tell Apple that they have the power not apple. As soon as Apple computers, internet and the IPhone can use Google people will quit using Apple promise.

    If Google buys Palm then Google phones can finally use Outlook to sync with each other. And not have to buy or find some retarded App or program!! thats what I am waiting on.

  • Faihan

    What sounds like a continental shift could actually lead to a gigantic clash here. These huge enterprises are more like vampires. The more they get, the more they want. The more sharp business guys look at the future, the more they realize that the future is not big enough for all of them. I do not know why they keep neglecting that this planet still have 6 billion people on it and is still growing. If this trend continues, then we all will end up with one global hotel, one global restaurant, one global phone,…..etc. But, anyway, as long as we move at this speed and get what we want, we do not care who takes who.

  • monchiron

    If Google owns a smart phone hardware company, that would really make Google a competitor with its partner.

    But i like the idea of selling off the hardware portion.

    Or may be Google and HTC should team up on the acquisition?

  • MattP

    I could see a company lke HP buying Palm before Google truthfully. Turn WebOS into a UI like Sense for HTC.

    Then take the patents and smack both HTC and Apple

  • alex

    yo google peoples you need 2 buy palm it is the smart thing to do

  • Barney

    What makes people think that Apple wouldn’t be interested in buying Palm themselves. Would certainly give them leverage against everyone else.

  • http://ekoz06.student.ipb.ac.id eco

    i’m supporting for Google..