Financial news site Bloomberg.com reported this morning that independent smartphone maker Palm will start seeking bids for the company as early as this week, according to three insiders.
Palm has been the focus of acquisition speculation since it launched the Pre at the start of 2009. It represented the last throw of the dice for the former PDA maker, but seemed like a decent one, being the first to use the TI OMAP 3430 SoC and bearing its own, unique OS and UI.
But a year later, Palm itself admitted it was having trouble convincing consumers to move away from the incumbent.
The acquisition rumour-mill was already in full flow last week, with both Lenovo and HTC associated with an acquisition. Of those Lenovo would appear to be the more likely as HTC has already committed to both the Android and Windows Phone 7 OSs and doesn't really need help in making handsets either. Lenovo's smartphone strategy, however, is still at a very early stage.
If not Lenovo, then we think another PC OEM would be a likely buyer. Both HP and Dell are failing to make much of an impact in the smartphone market so far and, being US companies, would probably absorb Palm relatively smoothly. However, the Bloomberg story reckons Dell had a sniff a little while back but decided not to buy.
Palm's shares today are trading at $5.16, having risen by ten percent on Friday on the acquisition rumours. However, they're still way down on their October 2009 peak of $17. Perhaps Dell will consider Palm worth another look at that price.