Analysts Envisage a Dell Palm Acquisition
The possibility of Palm being acquired by a larger rival has been churning through the rumor mill for the better part of the past decade. Now yet another cycle of analyst derived speculation is being proposed that suggests that PC giant Dell, desperately seeking some kind of foothold into the still-thriving smartphone market, may be a likely candidate to acquire Palm.
ComputerWorld appears to have used a great deal of industry analyst chatter combined with a large dose of speculation for their report, entitled "Dell buy of Palm would make sense, say analysts". If only sheer unfounded speculation, such a report seems certain to result in a bump of Palm's stock price and a slew of related speculative pieces. Additionally, the ComputerWorld piece quotes heavily from last week's Dow Jones report that Palm could be a good candidate to jumpstart Dell's reportedly underwhelming smartphone efforts. One analyst quoted in the article if Yankee Group Research's Carl Howe: "Palm is vulnerable and Dell has cash. A merger sounds like a good idea".
A deal would make sense on several levels, primarily from Dell's perspective. The company has been without any sort of current handheld device since the discontinuation in 2006 of their now-discontinued Axim Windows Mobile handheld line that ran from 2002-2007. Buying Palm would give Dell immediate access to a relatively strong, well-known brand with an established IP portfolio. In addition, Dell could fortify their ties to the various wireless carriers, realized at this time only via their add-on 3G data modules for PCs. In addition, Palm's WebOS could theoretically be mated to Dell's current Windows and Linux-based Mini netbook hardware platform to offer a spiritual successor to Palm's aborted Foleo smartphone companion. Of course, all of this would have be couched in the assumption that Elevation Partners is ready to sell out in order to try for a worthy return on their not-insubstantial investment in Palm.
Ever since the late 1990s, when Palm was the darling of Wall Street and a rising star in the mobile sector, rumors have swirled on and off (and often simultaneously) about various entities such as Compaq, Nokia, Motorola, and even Apple expressing an interest in buying Palm at some point in time.