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Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein  (Source: Palm)

Palm Pre
HTC seems to be leading contender to purchase Palm

What a difference a few days makes. Just last week, Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein was talking rather positively about Palm and its future despite that fact that buzzards are circling overhead.

"We do have $590 million in the bank, and we have a plan that carries this company forward," said Rubinstein in an interview with Fortune last week. "We went through that same thing at Apple, by the way. I mean, it was a similar situation many, many years ago where you just didn't have the economies of scale. And once we crossed over that Apple became a cash machine."

Now, however, Bloomberg is reporting that Palm is looking for a buyer. There were rumors last week that Lenovo was interested in buying Palm, and Bloomberg is now confirming those reports. Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst Partners are said to be lining up buyers for Palm. The top names on the list according to people familiar with the matter include none other than Lenovo and smartphone maker HTC. Dell reportedly passed on a bid for the $871M company.

Naturally spokesmen for Palm, Lenovo, and HTC declined to comment on the report.

Palm seems like a natural fit for HTC and Palm's patent portfolio could give it some ammunition in the fight against Apple. It also wouldn't hurt to have webOS and its developers in HTC's back pocket considering that Windows Mobile 6.x is a dead end, and Windows Phone 7 is still about six months from launch and doesn't have a large, stable app base to draw from yet. Then again, webOS' 2,200 apps isn't exactly impressive either, but at least it's a start.

Palm has been losing money for the past few quarters and is sitting on a stockpile of unsold Pre and Pixi smartphones. Launching the Pre last year with Sprint was pretty much a sales disaster and the launch this year with Verizon has been equally disappointing as most people have overlooked the Pre and Pixi to go with more high profile phones like the Motorola Droid.





"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer



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