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Why doesn't Nokia buy Palm?

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

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Nokia has committed to Linux for smartphones, tablets and mini-notebooks, and Symbian as the long term replacement for the high volume S40. There's no reason for either of these to be moved aside.

WebOS would be a huge win for development, since it's much more attractive than either Linux or Symbian for rapid application development, even with the Trolltech Qt plastered on top of either. Palm hides the complexity of the vast underlying OS and its libraries behind Javascript and XML. But thanks to Apple's success with the iPhone, this is how many new developers would prefer it - the newcomers to mobile development are more likely to be media companies, who prioritise tweaking the user experience on the New York Times iPad app, say, than traditional developers. Ovum noted yesterday that Symbian has slipped to fifth place in developers' affections with 56 per cent, behind (in order of preference) iPhone OS (86 per cent developing) , Blackberry OS (74 per cent), Windows Mobile (66 per cent), and Android (64 per cent).

If it wanted to, Nokia would find a warm reception from ODMs bruised from the Nexus One experience and increasingly nervous about Google's "autistic approach to relationships". WebOS is much slicker, and doesn't have a giant advertising company behind it waiting to skim the profits. If you were HTC, would you really want to stick with Android? The fact that HTC is reportedly in the hunt for Palm itself answers that.

It's going to be a year before Symbian^4 and competitive Meego devices appear anyway. In that time, it should be able to crank out its first range of WebOS products.

As for accusations of incoherence, these are only thrown at you when you're losing - they're quickly forgotten if you succeed. You simply need to give your product development teams the best resources to win, and Nokia is much stronger with WebOS than it is without it.

A Palm acquisition shouldn't mean too much realignment. Symbian can return to being Nokia's proprietary in-house OS, which is what they should have done with it in the first place. The wasted Long Weekend will soon be forgotten, if not so easily forgiven. And Meego can continue to be developed for set top boxes, mini instant-on laptops, and tablets.

Hotline to God Bono: Tero Ojanperä

One can only guess at what the long-term effect Nokia's three year smartphone hiatus has had on the company's 'brand reputation' in status-conscious Asia and other emerging markets. Across much of Asia the word "Nokia" simply translates as 'best phone': it's the manufacturer you choose if you can afford it - and even if you can't - to show your status. The status symbol for the new middle classes now is a Blackberry or an iPhone.

Palm too has made many mistakes in the past two years, some of which are outlined by Jean-Louis Gassee here, in a must-read note. (In a different era, Palm bought Gassee's Be to provide its future mobile OS.)

I think it's a perfect fit. Nokia still has the radio engineering expertise, integration know-how and the scale and volume to make great phones at low cost. It's proved it doesn't have a clue about UXP, and software development is harder on Nokia than it is anywhere else. There are two problems that WebOS solves nicely and cheaply. It would be very short sighted not to make the acquisition.

And doesn't Tero Ojanperä already practically live in Bono's leather trousers? That should help with striking a price. ®

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