Hewlett-Packard Buys Major Smartphone Company

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Hewlett-Packard is the suprise buyer of struggling phone ompany, Palm. The deal, worth $1.2 billion, comes days after the Palm announced that they were up for sale.

The deal, which has already been approved by both boards, combines HP’s global distribution with Palm’s webOS platform to enhance HP’s ability to participate more aggressively in the fast-growing smartphone market, where profits are significantly higher than in the notebook market.

Executives have said that the deal will result in HP launching the new range of Palm phones in Australia later this year. Late last year, Palm pulled out of the Australian market with none of the new webOS models being launched, after several carriers refused to stock the new models.

Palm’s unique webOS will allow HP to take advantage of such features as true multitasking and always-up-to-date information sharing across applications.

“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,” said Todd Bradley, Executive VP, Personal Systems Group, HP.

“And Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team. The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing, and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share. Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities, and HP intends to be a leader in this market.”

“We’re thrilled by HP’s vote of confidence in Palm’s technological leadership, which delivered Palm webOS and iconic products such as the Palm Pre. HP’s longstanding culture of innovation, scale and global operating resources make it the perfect partner to rapidly accelerate the growth of webOS,” said Jon Rubinstein, chairman and CEO, Palm. “We look forward to working with HP to continue to deliver industry-leading mobile experiences to our customers and business partners.”

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of domestic and foreign regulatory approvals, and the approval of Palm’s stockholders. The transaction is expected to close during HP’s third fiscal quarter, ending July 31.

Rubinstein is expected to remain with the company.

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