Amazon launched their new tablet, the Fire, and was immediately sued for patent infringement by Smartphone Technologies, a subsidiary of Acacia, which has rights to several Palm patents. Analysts believe in order for Amazon to join the mobile wars, they have to join the patent wars, too. So the speculation is, to protect Fire, will Amazon buy Palm, the business HP bought mid-2010 for an aggregate price of $1.8B.
Fueling the speculation, before Meg Whitman was tapped as the new CEO, HP announced they were abandoning the WebOS business as unprofitable and without much upside.
So what’s it worth? Losses attributable to HP’s WebOS business are $70M per quarter. At acquisition, HP valued the intangible assets and acquired IP in R&D in Palm at $424M as reported in their financials. (To thoroughly understand how intangibles are valued in purchase price allocations, join Mark Zyla in a detailed workshop on November 3.) Amazon has a special need, if only for defensive purposes, and after the launch of Fire, it appears they are serious about positioning themselves in the mobile device arena.