HP buying Palm for $1.2 billion

Palm, the company that invented the PDA but has struggled to stay relevant in recent years, will be acquired by computing giant Hewlett-Packard for $1.2 billion, CNET reports. The deal already has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors and is expected to close by the end of July. For Palm, it’s a quiet end to what was once one of the most dynamic of technology companies. Spun out of the computer networking maker 3Com 10 years ago, Palm once held more than 70 percent of the then nascent handheld computing market. But several years of management struggles, product misfires, and tough competition from companies ranging from Microsoft and Research in Motion to Apple and Google have turned the innovator into an also-ran. With HP, Palm’s still well-regarded technology (particularly its new WebOS mobile operating system) finds an owner with both deep pockets and familiarity with the inner workings of Palm. Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP’s Personal Systems Group, was CEO of Palm from 2002 through 2005. “Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices,” Bradley said in a statement. “And Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team.” Early indications are that HP is interested in Palm’s Web OS and array of mobile products, ranging from tablets and netbooks to phones. Palm also brings a healthy patent portfolio, which has become increasingly important as both Microsoft and Apple have in recent months sought to enforce their own mobile technology patents…

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