Palm, who recently held aquisition discussions with Lenovo and HTC are now saying that they may license webOS outright if a sale to another company doesn’t pan out.
The company originally said that it has no plans to license out its platform, but Reuters has heard that such a deal would be a viable option. A direct investment from Elevation Partners or another firm may be an alternative.
One company that may be interested in a licence deal as opposed to an aquisition may be HTC, however, insiders are claiming that Palm would have to agree to long-term investments in their webOS software.
Additionally, Palm has provided a strong hint that it may consider licensing some of its patents as a means of boosting its finances. A May 11th intellectual property event will see Palm discuss its patent collection, while show hosts MDB Capital will provide a value analysis of those patents. The portfolio should be worth about $8 or $9 per share by itself, Pete Conley said in advance. No indication was given whether the analysis was done at Palm’s request or simply a part of the event.
Either move would be extreme for Palm, as phone patents and webOS are considered some of its key advantages. As one of the first to release a smartphone, Palm has been relatively immune from lawsuits, even when it implemented multi-touch, starting from the Pre onwards. The OS itself is also unique in having very simple but true multitasking, an advantage it would lose if others had the right to share the OS as well.
Huawei, HTC, Lenovo and ZTE have all been considered top candidates for a takeover, but no rumours have surfaced suggesting they would agree to license webOS or any of Palm’s patents.