Why Google Should Buy Palm

Original author: tips@gizmodo.com
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With terrible sales and no signs of improvement, all Palm's prospects come down to one thing: takeover. Former Apple employee Phil Kearney sees Google as a buyer who needs Palm just as much as Palm needs Google in its impending war with Apple.

Looking at the upcoming battle between Apple and HTC, it’s interesting for me to watch everyone who asks when Google will finally intervene. I think Google will have to intervene, and this is exactly what Apple is counting on. I worked at Apple for 7 years in the department of developing wireless equipment for the home and the department of innovation, and I can tell you first hand that the guys at Apple are very skilled, prudent and thoughtful. People are absolutely right in believing that Google will have to intervene, if only because some very decent lawyer on HTC signed a contract with Google, which includes Google’s commitment to help, and Apple knows that.

Even if Google had no obligation to HTC, the Apple / HTC patent war affects Android and Google more than anyone else. Apple does not want a patent agreement with HTC because HTC has a relatively small number of patents. Apple has more than $ 30 billion dollars in the bank, so they hardly want to sue HTC for money. So what makes Apple sue HTC? I agree with those who suggest that this trial is designed to discourage device manufacturers from using Android in their new products. After thinking about this, I see one of the options for Google to buy some good patents. Looking through articles about the Apple / HTC conflict, I found a couple that link to older articles about Palm and a possible patent war between Palm and Apple. Interesting,

I understand that someone believes that it is too expensive for any company to buy Palm just for the sake of its patents. But if you look closely, Palm is a fairly cheap acquisition, even at an upbeat current price of $ 800 million. With a capitalization of more than $ 180 billion, Google could spend less than 1% of this amount on Palm, and get much more in return than just patents. Nokia and Motorola could also easily buy Palm, even with a premium just to get their patents, and that would be a great investment in the business of these companies. For me, the price seems fair, and the potential fee for not buying Palm is too high for any of them, including Google, which wants to compete on equal terms in the post-computer space of the second decade of the 21st century and beyond.

There are tons of other reasons why it’s so important for Google to buy a Palm, and the impending patent war with Apple is just pushing for such a solution. Let's think about the benefits that Google will receive from the purchase. Google will get everything that it currently lacks for a successful and continuous competition with Apple in the market of smartphones and other gadgets.

First and foremost: Google will receive all Palm patents, and as we know, the set of patents for Palm is very large and they are extremely useful. Palm has been doing this for about 20 years, having developed many patents, including some older patents, covering any patent that Apple may file. Most likely, the reason why we have never seen any direct panel conflicts between Palm and Apple is precisely because Apple lawyers, looking at Palm patents, found that Apple infringes as many Palm patents as Palm infringes Apple . So a direct conflict is clearly not a good idea.

If this is true, then purchasing Palm for Google could be much more important. Apple’s attacks on HTC look like Austro-Hungary’s attack on Serbia or the German invasion of Belgium, which led to World War I. Like the outbreak of war, the Apple / HTC trial could lead to a much wider conflict, especially since the Nokia / Apple front has already been opened. Without considering anything but patents, Google has to buy a Palm. But besides patents, Google can get much more tools that they will need if they hope to defeat Apple in the future in the smartphone market.

Google can also get an excellent group of WebOS developers, many of whom were still developing the first version of the iPhone OS and could be involved in the creation of many iPhone patents. In addition, if you look under the hood of WebOS and Android, we will see that they are brothers in terms of architecture and implementation. Both OSs grew out of Linux and are quite similar. This means that people who developed WebOS can easily go to the Android kernel development team. And, for example, Android and WebOS could be merged into a single OS, which Google could officially license for all equipment developers who are now going to use Android on their devices. Using the webOS command, Google could add all the webOS chips in Android and get an even better OS for its own devices and for licensing.

But buying Palm can provide more than just software benefits. Having at its disposal a team of WebOS, Google will receive ready-made special forces to fight Apple. Yes, all the guys from WebOS will help Google a lot to develop Android, but let's not forget about the key figures who left Apple after the release of iPhone OS and crossed from Cupertino to Palm. They clearly had a reason. Something they didn’t like about Apple, and they would certainly be ready to help in the fight.

In addition to reinforcing the Android development team, the purchase of Palm will also give Google fundamentally new opportunities. Google will be able to develop their own devices. Now Google has to rely on partners like HTC in this. Without your own hardware development unit, there is no chance of competing with the iPhone. The fact that even Motorola and Nokia realized that they could not do without their own software and hardware. To compete directly with Apple more or less successfully for a long time, companies need to control all stages of production. Palm has a team of iron workers and designers, some of whom came from the same Apple. Google needs an iron development team for future Android products, and Palm hardware is great for this. I know, that someone got Palm phones with defective screens or keyboards, but let's not confuse poor design with poor production. It seems to me that Palm engineers are good enough, but manufacturers from China could not pay enough attention to quality control of components and assembly.

Google can also get other business units, which are often forgotten by people who have never developed mobile phones. Firstly, this is the Palm operator operations department. Having a whole department of people with many years of experience working with carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, China Mobile and Vodafone is a great thing that needs to be taken seriously and seriously considered. If Apple had such a team when developing the iPhone, perhaps now the entire US market would belong to it, and not just AT&T subscribers.

Secondly, the technical support service and all the infrastructure necessary for this, which Palm built for years for each operator, teaching them how to support each new Palm product. I have heard several horror movies related to Nexus One support. And if they are true, then Google definitely needs all the help that Palm can give him in training and organizing support services for every operator who wants to sell Android phones.

I have many friends at both Apple and Palm, so I don’t want you to think that I’m just trying to blacken Apple or whitewash Palm. I really want my friends in Palm to have a great time. But I do not believe that I am the only one who had the idea of ​​buying a Palm. I even think that there are teams in Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola and even Apple that are doing the same thing. And it even seems to me that they all came to the same conclusions. Buying Palm can give a lot to any smartphone company and make it a serious player in the market in the next decade. But it seems to me that only Google is now in the best shape for the purchase. Palm will give Google everything to make Android smartphones the real rivals for the iPhone. But will this happen? We will see.

Phil Kearney is the geek who developed AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule while working at Apple. The first Apple II computer he had in 1980, when he was 13 years old. Since then he has been a fan of Apple. Now he is in great shape, drinks good wine, eats great food and, they say, plays poker well online

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