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Why doesn't Nokia buy Palm?

It's a perfect fit, and going cheap...

Top three mobile application threats

Comment Nokia has endured a painful two years - a kind of corporate Lost Weekend. Instead of alcoholism, Nokia found itself distracted by completely avoidable, self-inflicted corporate restructuring and IP issues, and so technologies we saw two years ago will only start to appear in phones next year.

This was very bad timing. Instead of capitalising on its success with the N95-8GB, we find that Blackberries are now ubiquitous, and the iPhone has raised the bar for what the mobile user expects from a phone: it should just work. Well, this week Palm has put itself in the shop window, and Nokia should seize the opportunity.

Palm's WebOS is outstanding - arguably the best on the market. It may be stretching it a bit to claim that Palm has the IP portfolio of an Apple - but WebOS ticks all the boxes. It should keep whoever acquires it competitive for the next ten years. Even better, the cost of acquiring these goodies is apparently around $300m to $400m. That's a fraction of the $8.1bn Nokia paid to acquire Navteq three years ago, and Nokia has vowed to give away the assets of that acquisition. Acquiring Palm would be a sneeze, and give it a world-beating UI in phones from next year.

The biggest arguments against a Nokia acquisition are pride, accusations of strategic incoherence, and fitting it into its software portfolio. But Nokia can actually acquire WebOS and keep everybody happy.

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