Qualcomm Hoovers Up HP’s Palm Patents

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

HP finally gets rid of the patents it acquired in the disastrous purchase of Palm back in 2010

HP has rid itself of the last piece of technology from its troubled acquisition of Palm by offloading its portfolio of 2,400 patents to chip manufacturer Qualcomm for an undisclosed sum.

The portfolio also included patents stemming from HP’s acquisition of mobile enterprise company Bitfone in 2006 and HP’s IPAQ PDA business.

Patent Deal

“The portfolio, comprising approximately 1,400 granted patents and pending patent applications from the US and approximately 1,000 granted patents and pending patent applications from other countries, covers technologies that include fundamental mobile operating system techniques,” said Qualcomm and HP.

The two companies also said that the deal “further enhances the strength and diversity of Qualcomm Incorporated’s industry-leading mobile patent portfolio and will enable the company to offer even more value to current and future licensees.”

Palm was acquired by HP for $1.2bn (£722m) in 2010 and at that time, it was optimistically predicted that the deal would propel HP into the smartphone and tablet big leagues, and even allow it to take on the likes of Apple.

However the deal also had many doubters, who were proved right after HP announced in August 2011 that it was dropping WebOS and was discontinuing its TouchPad tablet devices (which ran Palm OS). Hewlett-Packard eventually all but gave away Palm’s operating system to LG Electronics, which is now using it to power its range of Smart TVs. Since then, HP has been seeking a buyer for its Palm patents.

Another setback for HP’s mobile ambitions came when former Palm chief executive Jon Rubinstein, left Hewlett-Packard in early 2012. Rubinstein is now on the board of directors at Qualcomm, and he has previously publicly stated that Palm’s acquisition by HP was a “waste”.

HP’s CEO, Meg Whitman, meanwhile has previously said that HP is looking at ways to return to the smartphone arena.

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