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Palm denies it's up for sale

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Palm's CEO has been busy telling the world that his company isn't up for sale, which is lucky as no one seems very interested in buying it.

Jon Rubinstein, the CEO concerned, has told the Financial Times that he "believe[s] Palm can survive as an independent company" and that the company has "a plan that gets us to profitability". We're assuming that involves lottery tickets or rubbing brass lamps, as it's hard to think of anything else which can save Palm now.

Reuters reckons the only eastern interest in Palm is now Lenovo, HTC having decided it wasn't worth the effort, and "a Huawei source" told Reuters that talks with Palm have stalled. That doesn't leave a lot of options for the company that did so much to drive computers into users' pockets, Rubinstein reckons that Palm has "a strong pipeline of products in the future" but it's going to have to be very strong indeed to prevent the company getting bought up.

HTC's lack of interest is unsurprising - having spent so much energy building up its own brand it would make little sense to buy somebody else's. The same thing applies to Nokia, which also suffers from a surfeit of phone platforms, and so is unlikely to be interested in WebOS as an ongoing concern.

The FT suggests Palm might like to licence WebOS to other manufacturers, though that didn't work out perfectly last time (Handspring Visor anyone?). These days there's a plethora of mobile operating systems around, and two of the more popular options (Symbian & Android) are free and both capable of running the AJAX-style widgets that used to be WebOS's claim to fame.

Huawei would seem a perfect fit for Palm - the brand is almost unknown in the USA and the company hasn't got access to the kind of patent portfolio that one needs these days, and which Palm could supply. Talks may be stalled, but that doesn't mean they can't be restarted, assuming Jon Rubinstein isn't really intending to keep the company independent. ®

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