Online retailer announced several Web-based platforms last week, including cloud-optimised Web browser, Amazon Silk
Online retailer and tablet devices maker Amazon is reportedly in "serious negotiations" to buy Palm and its webOS mobile operating system from the Hewlett-Packard (HP).
Well-placed sources told VentureBeat that Amazon, which unveiled its Kindle Fire tablet last week, is very close to finalising the deal with HP. The report added that there are other contenders for the deal with HP as well, but Amazon is the closest.
Amazon has not commented on the matter so far. HP refused to comment saying it is not company policy to comment on rumours, according to VentureBeat.
HP discontinued webOS and the TouchPad after only a month on the market. The company shocked the industry in August when it announced the potential spin off of its PC division and that it would discontinue manufacturing its TouchPad tablet.
The company is looking to move towards higher margin software and services, like rival IBM did a number of years ago. However, the company has said that it will support the development of the webOS platform as well.
HP’s head of Personal Systems Group (PSG) for the UK and Ireland Paul Hunter had said that the company will continue to support webOS, even though it will no longer develop hardware for it. "All webOS products will be supported and HP fully intends to support the future development of the webOS platform, though again how that will be managed is still under discussion," he said.
His statement added: "Another obvious question is why has HP decided to stop supporting webOS hardware devices. Due to market dynamics, significant competition and a rapidly changing environment, continuing to execute our former device approach was not in the best interest of HP and HP shareholders. HP is fully committed to the ongoing support and service of customers who purchased webOS devices."
However, in August, HP EVP of Personal Systems Group (PSG) Todd Bradley had said that the company was exploring a wide range of options and will decide on PC spin off within 12 weeks.
"We’re looking at a variety of strategic alternatives to HP’s ownership of PSG, everything from potential spin off to nothing. Work will get completed probably over the next eight-12 weeks and we’ll sit down with our board and take them through the results," Bradley told CNBC.
The deal could be a win-win deal for both companies. While HP does not want the OS to be killed off, Amazon could benefit by having its own OS and end up paying a fraction of the $1.2bn that HP had paid for Palm in 2010.
Last week, Amazon announced numerous Web-based platforms. The company also unveiled a new cloud-optimised Web browser called Amazon Silk. Its Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, to run on Google’s Android, is aimed at taking on Apple’s iPad. The company could also use Palm’s multi-tasking capabilities to add new features to the Kindle Fire.
According to reports, HP has been looking at Amazon as a potential webOS partner for some months now.
In July, Palm CEO Jon Rubenstein had told This is my next, "So, we’d like a partner that would allow us to expand the webOS ecosystem… There’s a variety of different sets of a characteristics to qualify as a good partner. I would say Amazon would certainly make a great partner, because they have a lot of characteristics that would help them expand the webOS ecosystem. As to whether there’s been discussions or not… that’s obviously not something I’m going to comment about."