And just like that, Hewlett-Packard is a relevant smartphone company again.
The world's largest PC maker now has a mobile operating system of its own after completing its previously announced acquisition of Palm for $5.70 a share, which works out to roughly $1.2 billion. Jon Rubenstein, the former Apple executive who was charged with bringing Palm back to prominence as its chairman and CEO, will report to Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's personal systems group.
HP has sold smartphones with the Windows Mobile OS for several years, but that operating system has lost considerable favor with consumers and businesses, leading to HP's decision to buy Palm. The company plans to use Palm's WebOS operating system in a wide variety of devices, continuing development of Palm's Pre smartphone line but also announcing plans Thursday for "slate PCs and Netbooks."
So is the HP-developed Windows 7 slate that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showcased in his 2010 CES keynote dead? HP wasn't ready to pull the trigger Thursday, but issued this statement: "We are in customer evaluations now and will make a determination soon on the next steps. We hadn't anticipated the Palm acquisition when we first shared our plans for that product."
CNET's Ina Fried contributed to this report.