Oracle interested in HP's WebOS: Why it's not so nuts

Oracle could collect some potentially valuable patents if it acquired HP's WebOS.

Oracle reportedly is interested in buying HP's WebOS and the move may not be as crazy as it sounds.

Reuters is reporting that HP is pondering a sale of WebOS that would get "hundreds of millions of dollars" but not enough to break even on the Palm purchase.

The real kicker in Reuters short story is that Oracle is one of the companies interested. At first blush, the Oracle interest sounds a bit nutty, but does make some sense.

Here are a few reasons why the deal isn't so crazy:

  • Oracle is trying to sue Google into oblivion for Android. Oracle wants billions from Google and a trial has been pushed off until 2012. A purchase of WebOS would give Oracle more patents that could be used as ammo in that lawsuit.
  • The return on a WebOS investment could be delivered via a lawsuit. If Oracle's lawsuit vs. Google doesn't work out, WebOS could be leveraged elsewhere.
  • A WebOS purchase could be a thaw in relations with HP. The Oracle-HP relationship is strained to say the least. However, new CEO Meg Whitman may be able to improve relations. If Oracle took WebOS off HP's hands it may be a sign of detente.
  • Oracle is now a hardware player. Some of that WebOS intellectual property could come in handy in some form.

Despite those aforementioned reasons, Oracle is probably a long shot to buy HP's WebOS. However, crazier things in tech have happened.

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