HP: With Palm Buyout Complete, Big Plans for webOS

Less than a week after Palm shareholders approved the $1.2 billion takeover by HP, the ailing creator of the Pre and Pixi smartphones now is owned by the computer-and-printer giant.

Industry observers have said all along that HP wants Palm not for its mobile devices, but for its mobile operating system, webOS considered one of the best. In fact, in a prepared statement on Thursday, HP Executive Vice President Todd Bradley said HP will use webOS to power new smartphones, netbooks and tablet computers.

This allows us the opportunity to fully engage in growing our smartphone family offering and the footprint of webOS, Bradley said.

Jon Rubinstein, Palms former chairman and CEO, will lead the division that will bring these plans to life. Hell also report to Bradley.

HP bought Palm for $5.70 per share of Palm common stock, in cash. The acquisition was announced on April 28, amid rumors that Palm needed a buyer or was sure to sink amid stiff competition from the iPhone, BlackBerry, Droid and other next-gen mobile devices. Palms Pre and Pixi sales were dwindling and Verizon Wireless had stopped ordering more of the smartphones.

Now HP is trying to one-up Apple Inc. with a rival to the new iPad tablet. Earlier this year, HP unveiled the so-called Slate tablet, which ran on Microsoft Corp.s Windows operating system, but little has since been seen of the device. The Wall Street Journal said speculation has mounted that HP is reshaping the Slate project now that Palm is part of the company.

Shares of HP were trading .51 percent lower by about 12:40 p.m. on Thursday, reaching $43.06.

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