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Taiwanese phone vendor HTC could soon have their own operating system if a rumoured takeover of struggling US Company, Palm, goes ahead. The move would see them go head-to-head with Google Android and the new Windows 7 Mobile OS.

Palm has struggled this year. Despite Australia previously being a “good” market, the US company has failed to launch its new Palm Pre or Pixi here, and both sales and profits have fallen to new lows.

Shortly after the rumour surfaced shares in Palm gained 51 cents to $5.16, but in spite of this, both HTC and Palm declined to comment on the report.

HTC has built its business on the basis of manufacturing advanced touch-screen smartphones based on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system and, more recently, Google’s Android operating system. HTC made the G1, first Android-based handset, and also manufactures the Google Nexus One smartphone.

According to the Financial Times a deal with Palm would give HTC access to Palm’s rival webOS operating system, which was launched last year along with the Palm Pre handset and has been generally well received.

The new operating system and handsets have been a key part of Palm’s turnaround plan, executed by a new management team led by Chief Executive, and former Apple executive, Jon Rubinstein.

Late last week, Palm’s shares gained on short-covering after unconfirmed market rumours that Lenovo, the Chinese PC maker, might also be a potential bidder for Palm.

In the past six months, Palm’s stock has tumbled nearly 70 per cent, cutting its market capitalisation to about $780m from $2.4bn, although analysts believe a suitor would have to pay at least $1bn to acquire the company.

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