Are you lonesome tonight, tech firms? Let our dating service fix you up

Saucy startup seeks older partner, solvent, GSOH

Vulture Valentines With Dell happily married to itself thanks to some money from the private equity gods, and EE having signed up a whole bunch of sugar daddies to foot its bills, what other lonely hearts of the tech biz could use a date this Valentine's Day?

Mature, big-boned mobile phone firm, still with a lot to give, seeks deep-pocketed friend for sustenance and maybe more.

Nokia is drinking alone in the last chance saloon with its inadequate boyfriend WinPho, hoping to rekindle some of the magic it had in its previous relationships. Without that magic, Nokia may one day soon find itself back on the dating market looking for someone to pay for its lunch. And the Finnish firm makes a tempting prospect to some eyes, with its girdle well padded with patents, patents, patents. That IP portfolio means it's very attractive to other tech firms like Samsung and Apple and equally appealing to those patent holding companies, trolls and PE firms that know Samsung, Apple, Microsoft and many more will keep paying for licences if they can't lay hands on the properties themselves.

Assuming things don't go well with WinPho, a more left-field plan might be to partner up with one of the other lonely mobe firms and hope that two can do what one couldn't alone. Alternatively a new player might seek to enter the mobile world on Nokia's arm, much as Sony once did with Ericsson. HTC or Motorola could be the Finnish firm's new squeeze: or perhaps one of the myriad Chinese firms, popular at home, looking for a Western connection.

And of course, Microsoft itself might think it best to pick up the pieces of its wounded partner - the Beast of Redmond not being particularly well-known for giving up on something before having tried and tried again.

Best match

One of the Chinese mobile manufacturers - how often have you seen a totally cool off-the-wall phone that you couldn't wait to see in the buffed-steel, only for it to turn out to be one of the many mobes only available in China?

Worst match

Patent troll - we here at The Reg, like every sane-minded tech-loving person, want companies to make stuff, not spend all their time and money in court.

Young creative free spirit seeks sugar daddy for love/hate relationship that revolves around money, must love kittens and cupcakes.

With the news that Pinterest's latest round of funding would value the company at between $2bn and $2.5bn, despite the fact that it hasn't a penny to its name, it's only a matter of time before someone decides they can be the one to make it a real big-money star. Undeterred by the many wealthy pillars of the community that have fallen for these svelte young startup minxes before and been rinsed of all their cash, a rich well-established firm like Google or Microsoft is bound to think that it has what it takes to tame the wild and saucy scrapbook site into demure profitability.

Pinterest's intriguing scent of potential comes from the fact that corporations have embraced the pinned pictures as a way to advertise their own goods and get click-throughs to buy items, a practice the site could start taking a cut in. And of course, an ageing hipster like Facebook would no doubt like to hustle Pinterest into its harem in an effort to keep itself looking fresh and youthful and get it further along in its mobile strategy.

If none of those prospects are willing to take on the potentially draining courtship of Pinterest, Yahoo! could be this date's random outlier. Long in the habit of wooing firms that it's not always sure what to do with after it's had its way with them, Yahoo! is looking to refresh its fortunes in online services - and succeed in mobile too - and might think that some glittery scrapbook arm candy is the way to do it.

Best match

Independence! Wouldn't it be nice if a bright young thing could make its own way in the world and earn its own money without having to leech off a wealthy older partner? We think so too.

Worst match

Please don't let bloated, corrupt old daddy Facebook buy up yet another shiny, vibrant young method of modern communication and make it into something sleazy and dead inside that can't look at itself in the mirror.

Hefty, neurotic older singleton, lots of baggage, badly hurt by eccentric Frenchman in the past, deadbeat toyboy still living on sofa, seeks masterful new flame with whom to plan a sensible future.

HP is probably not the most tantalising cherry on the tree any more, with a drunken stagger in its step of late and prone to weepily telling people in bars about being mistreated in the past. The exceptionally strange announcement that PCs were over, followed by the decision that in fact they still have a role as printer accessories, are still firmly in everyone's minds and the not unexpected declaration that its decision to get into bed with Autonomy was a bad idea isn't helping.

The firm is full of bitter recriminations for Autonomy and Mike Lynch as well as for its own erratic lord and master at the time, Leo Apotheker. While watchdogs are investigating, it remains to be seen what strategy HP has to recoup the money it lost on the deal and the general malaise in the company's fortunes. PCs are probably dead for the firm, its operating systems are tied to the wrong kind of processors and it's late in realising that it needs to be in the cloud, not peddling servers. So HP's looking rather haggard and unsteady. But there are still reasons to take HP out, wine it, dine it and take it home (getting rid of hangers-on such as the current management on the way).

Who knows, Intel could be interested in being able to compel continued manufacture of Ultrabooks: and Lenovo, Dell and Microsoft might all like the look of a PC business which could be had after a cheap date as well. And either IBM or Oracle could be ogling HP's prominent enterprise and public sector assets.

Best match

A steamy but satisfying ménage à quatre featuring Intel and IBM. It's Intel Inside at the PC end, Big Blue gets the enterprise, and some other handsome stranger on the sidelines can gobble HP's printers.

Worst match

Apple could be both the best and the worst beau for HP depending on where you're standing - good for the fruity firm, to have a chance to bring the same brutal mastery to the enterprise world as it has to a large segment of the consumer tech industry, and bad for everyone else.

Can Reg readers suggest a few more lonely hearts? ®

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