HP clarifies reasons for Palm buy

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HP has clarified chief executive Mark Hurd's recent comments that it didn't buy Palm to get into the smartphone business, playing up the importance of the firm's webOS operating system to the acquisition.

The tech giant explained that it will use the Linux based OS to power many of its "small form factor devices", presumably including tablets.

While HP's primary objective was the intellectual property, the firm did not clarify what its strategic intentions are for Palm hardware.

"When we look at the market, we see an array of interconnected devices, including tablets, printers and, of course, smartphones," said HP in a statement sent to V3.co.uk.

"We believe that [Palm's] webOS can become the backbone for many of HP's small form factor devices, and we expect to expand the webOS footprint beyond the smartphone market, all while leveraging our financial strength, scale and global reach to grow in smartphones."

What the statement doesn't reiterate is Hurd's much reported comments to Merrill Lynch investors two days ago, when he allegedly said that HP "didn't buy Palm to be in the smartphone business".

Either way, HP has not confirmed what it will or will not be doing with Palm hardware. HP could keep Palm's Treo smartphones as a separate brand, as it did with iPaq's when it acquired Compaq in 2001.

HP could also subsume Palm hardware in to its own Voice and Data Messenger smartphones, or could kill Palm completely, leaving only the intellectual property intact for webOS.

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