Being in Palo Alto for Hot Chips 23, you run in to a lot of people who know things about big stories like the HP PC fire sale and Palm knifing. The stories that they tell tend to be very different from the very confused PR line.
Short story, HP killed Palm/WebOS after a very short life, and then didn’t officially confirm it is selling it’s PC business. The whole debacle was messaged in a way that would make PR people very happy, as long as they were working for an HP competitor. Internally, I can’t think of a way it could have been done worse.
That said, the interesting bit is the sale of the PC business. This move is not a stretch of the imagination for anyone that has been paying attention, the PC business is low margin, and most companies are looking to other areas to boost their revenue and more importantly, their profit margins. Fair enough. HP shedding their PC line was fairly inevitable.
Any sale of such a business means there is also a buyer. Hopefully. At this time, HP isn’t saying anything officially about a buyer, nor is any potential suitor. According to SemiAccurate’s sources, there is one and only one name being floated, Samsung. The sources would not say anything more, just that Samsung has been floating internally for weeks since a recent reorg. This sale wasn’t a snap decision, it has been in planning for a long time.
On top of that, Samsung hired several key PC execs from HP in the recent past. While this isn’t definitive, it does point to interest by the Korean giant. The fact that HP’s PC and laptop business would nicely plug a gaping hole in the Samsung vertical monolith may be entirely coincidental, but it is worth thinking about. Insiders on both sides are not talking specifics, but the synergies are obvious.
The other bit is far less important, but does make you wonder. Sources in sunny California are saying that the Palm/WebOS tablets were actually not selling badly, and in fact were selling quite well. Given the acceptable sales, and the short life span, it makes you really wonder why the line was canceled. The OS was arguably the best out there, warts and all, but wasn’t being supported nearly as well as HP was saying. The PR screed does not match the purported facts, at least if you have access to the real numbers. Something is fishy here, very very fishy.S|A