HP Wants to Sell webOS for "Hundreds of Millions" of Dollars

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Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) hopes to sell Palm's webOS platform for "hundreds of millions of dollars," according to a Reuters report, a move that would allow HP to partly recoup the $1.2 billion investment it made in buying Palm in 2010.

The report, which cited four unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said that Amazon.com, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Research In Motion (NAS: RIMM) are among the companies interested in acquiring the platform. The report said HP is being advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the sale. VentureBeat reported in late September that Amazon was in advanced negotiations with HP to buy webOS.

An HP spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, an HP representative told Reuters: "We are exploring ways to optimize the webOS software," and declined to further comment.

HP CEO Meg Whitman said in late October that the company will decide the fate of webOS in the next few months. "I think we need to be in the tablet business, and we're certainly going to be there with Windows 8," Whitman said during a call with investors to discuss the company's decision to not spin off its Personal Systems Group. "So we're going to make another run at this business [tablets]. And we're going to make a decision about the long-term future of webOS within HP over the next couple of months. And as soon as we make that decision, we'll let you know on that."

HP introduced earlier this year its webOS-powered TouchPad tablet.

However, HP in August announced it would discontinue its webOS devices business, specifically the TouchPad tablet and its webOS phones, a stark reversal for HP nearly 16 months after it bought Palm and the webOS software platform HP executives at the time said all options are on the table for webOS, including selling the platform or licensing it.

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