HP has had a rough time in the mobile space over the last few years. After spending more than a billion dollars to acquire Palm and its webOS software, the company killed its webOS hardware division just months after launching the HP TouchPad tablet.

These days HP is banking on Windows and Android for its tablet needs… but according to Bloomberg, the company may be trying to squeeze a little more money out of the intellectual property related to webOS.

HP is reportedly looking for buyers for some of its mobile patents, including patents related to webOS.

HP TouchPad with webOS

That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll see other companies released webOS hardware anytime soon — although that could happen. The core webOS operating system is now open source, and LG acquired much of the code and development team earlier this year, possibly for use on smart TV devices.

But at a time when electronics and software companies aren’t shy about suing one another, patents covering the way mobile software behaves can be a good thing to have. It can give companies bargaining power to help prevent lawsuits… or to bring them against other companies.

It can also help smooth the way for bringing some of the features included in webOS to other software platforms.

At this point it’s not clear who might be interested in buying the patents or what they’d do with them — HP hasn’t even publicly confirmed that they’re for sale. But theoretically the move could generate a bit of revenue for HP while the company completes the transition from webOS to Android and Windows.

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4 replies on “HP could sell off some mobile patents”

  1. 1st HP should hold onto those patents and become a licensing warehouse to offer protection to some allies in case the trolls come after Android. The Palm intellectual property they now hold would offer HP and some newly created allies some great tit-for-tat protection, or outright assault. 2nd – there are still markets for webOS (such as envisioned for printer interfaces, non-general computing, In-Vehicle-infotainment etc. Even if HP isn’t the vendor to provide the hardware, they could offer the software. 3rd HP should have never sold Palm and webOS – after buying Palm, it cost nothing to keep it, very little gain from selling it off, and the time may be ripe in the future to release another tablet platform – once the patent trolls start taking apart some competition – HP could have swooped in with something completely different and without all the patent liability. Android is too fragmented and has lack-luster app performance vs iPad, Windows RT is a disaster, Blackberry is out, Tizen, ChromeOS, Ubuntu mobile, and Firefox OS I doubt will see much traction in in the North American markets – the landscape is looking ripe for a competitor with a low cost, low overhead, non-Android liability to come in and give users an option. I know I’d jump at the chance for another TP like device with webOS.

  2. “After spending more than a billion years to acquire Palm”
    That is a really long acquisition!

    1. After spending more than a billion dollars to acquire Palm and its webOS software

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