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Lenovo considering purchase

Palm is having a very hard time in the smartphone market both in the U.S. and abroad. The company is seeing its profits drop and its handsets are failing to sell in the numbers that the company and analysts expect. 

The poor sales of its handsets have led the company to step back and look at what it needs to do to ensure profitability and the survival of what was once one of the most popular brands in the industry. Palm is considering all options, including selling the company. Palm reportedly started looking for a buyer earlier this month. One of the early firms that were looking into acquiring Palm was rival smartphone maker HTC.

HTC has passed on the deal after looking at Palm's books. The most likely remaining candidate for the purchase is computer maker Lenovo. Lenovo has a line of handsets that it sells in its home Chinese market, but the Lenovo handset line has no foothold in the U.S. market.

Analyst Lu Chialin from Macquarie Securities in Taipei said, "A most suitable candidate will be a mainland Chinese company. They've got a lot more free cash and don't have the brand presence in the United States, so that will all give them that boost they need."

Reuters reports that its sources in investment banking have confirmed that Lenovo is considering a bid for Palm, but offered no specifics. Lenovo has offered no official statements on its intent to make a bid for Palm, but its stock has risen on the rumor of purchase.

Lenovo is reported to have the cash on hand it would need to purchase Palm if it chooses – at the end of 2009, Lenovo had $2.4 billion in cash. Palm is reportedly looking for about $1.3 billion from suitors. While the possibility of an outright sale is on the table at Palm, the company also has other plans. One of the possibilities would be to license its webOS to other companies to use on their smartphones. 

Palm may also simply choose to continue as an independent company. 
Financial Times reports that Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein believes that Palm can continue and survive. Rubinstein says he is "bullish" on the long-term prospects of Palm. He stated, "I believe Palm can survive as an independent company. We have a plan that gets us to profitability."

FT reports that Rubinstein points out that Palm had $592 million gross cash position at the end of Q3. It would take almost all of that money to get palm through until it can return to profitability. Analysts believe that Palm won’t reach break-even until May of 2012 and by that point it will have spent $534 million of its cash reserves.

Palm is working on a new generation of handsets that it hopes will fare better on the market than its current Pre and Pixi devices. Rubinstein said, "[Palm is working] fast and furious on new handsets." Analysts at RBC Capital markets told the FT that Palm could receive bids as high as $2 to $3 billion considering it has a market cap of $820 million.

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Palm hardware sucks - this is why it doesn't sell
By jameskatt on 4/23/2010 11:39:17 AM , Rating: 2
Palm hardware sucks. This is why it doesn't sell.

I think Palm has to do some things:

1. Recruit HTC to make Palm hardware for it - essentially rebrand HTC's cell phones like Google and Microsoft do. This way, Palm doesn't have to do its own hardware. This way, Palm can keep up with Microsoft and Google.

2. Install the WebOS on these phones.

3. Create a developer SDK that can do native apps. The lack of apps is killing Palm. Get Adobe to create app creation tools for it. Sure, Flash apps suck and are generic. But having no apps is worse of all.

This may give Palm a chance in the world.

Of course, I'll upgrade to an iPhone 4G.

By retrospooty on 4/23/2010 12:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
HTC has been making Palms products for well over 5 years. I know for a fact all Treo's since the 650 came from HTC.

Palm has no chance as Palm. They need to be bought out by a company that can move faster on multiple fronts. They just arent built to be able to compete in todays tech economy.

Considering Lenovo bought the industry standard thinkpad laptop and desktop line from IBM and kept it going with not only keeping the high quality but improving upon it, I welcome Lenovo's purchase and hope it happens. This way Web OS will live on and hopefully better hardware options in the future.

By omnicronx on 4/23/2010 3:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
1. HTC has made Palm hardware in the past, still did no help them.(made a lot of palm phones before the pre was released)

2. Would be nice, but they have not faired too badly with WinMo and Android and have a lot invested in the two.

3. Like the Palm PDK? If you've ever looked on the app store, they 3D games there (many of which are basically the same as iPhone versions) are written using the Palm PDK, compiled to native c/c++ code using opengl. The PDK is already publically available , and will soon allow public app submissions.(well from the non big players at least, the big players have had access to the PDK for a while)

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