Qualcomm Buys Palm IP from Hewlett-Packard

On Thursday, Qualcomm announced a strategic acquisition from Hewlett-Packard. The smartphone chipmaker picked up a patent portfolio from HP, Hewlett-Packard Development Co. LP and Palm Inc.

The portfolio includes about 1,400 granted U.S. patents and pending patent applications, as well as about 1,000 granted patents and pending patent applications from other countries. Those patents cover technologies that include fundamental mobile operating system techniques.

Qualcomm said the acquisition further enhances the strength and diversity of its mobile patent portfolio. Although no specific plans for the tech were announced, the company said the intellectual property will make it possible to offer even more value to current and future licensees. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Qualcomm Protecting Itself?

HP acquired Palm for about $1.2 billion in 2010 in what former Palm CEO Todd Bradley then called EUa transformational deal.EU It goes down in history as a poor move from then-HP CEO Mark Hurd.

Just less than a year ago, HP sold the webOS operating system, one of PalmEUs key innovations, to LG Electronics for an undisclosed amount. Palm first developed the webOS mobile operating system hoping that it would resurrect the ailing mobile brand. HP bought Palm, largely for the company's webOS assets, and in the next year launched a tablet, the TouchPad, based on webOS. But less than two months later pulled the plug on all webOS projects.

We asked Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, for his take on the IP trade. He told us from QualcommEUs perspective the move is somewhat similar to GoogleEUs purchase of Motorola Mobility. Although heEUs not sure how much of the IP in the portfolio will actually end up in Qualcomm devices, he said buying a kettle of technology with deep roots in earlier forms of mobile computing may inoculate Qualcomm against future legal challenges.


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