In the aftermath of HP's Touchpad blunder, the company reportedly tried to jettison its Palm / WebOS properties to potential buyers for a cool $1.2 billion. If that number looks familiar, it is because that is the same exact price HP acquired the company for in 2010. HP was criticized by many analysts for the expensive buyout claiming the deal sorely overvalued Palm and that was over a year ago.
HP appealed to such heavy hitters as Amazon, Intel, Facebook and Samsung in order to unload the weight of Palm's corpse from its shoulders. It appears no one was willing to make such a huge investment though, especially after HP's own Touchpad fire sale cemented the imminent failure of WebOS in the hands of those who would wield it.
Aside from the scary price tag, Venture Beat's sources report that HP may have also insisted on maintaining rights for using WebOS in its printers. At such a high premium for a property riddled with failure, companies may have also been turned off by HP bogging down the deal with preconditions and stipulations. As report points out, HP may just be a poor negotiator or is simply too sore to relinquish control of its costly WebOS platform.
After being unable to make the sale, HP eventually sent the project to the open-source bin so it can continue to evolve, free of obligations from the company. The results of this move have yet to surface, but HP may intend to create an open-source relationship analogous to Webkit and Chrome or even a model similar to Android in the future. HP CEO Meg Whitman has mentioned that WebOS will continue to appear in HP products so the commercial outlook of the platform remains somewhat positive.
HP has had a bad run recently. The company's leadership has openly appeared to be indecisive with determining what it should do with its PC business, tablets and Palm. Let us hope 2012 brings a new year of clarity for the top PC computer manufacturer in the world.