A report by VentureBeat overnight quotes an anonymous source saying that Amazon.com is “in serious negotiations” to buy Palm from HP, acquiring assets including the well-regarded webOS software for smartphones and tablets. It’s getting a lot of attention in the tech media this morning.
The logic? “By purchasing the remnants of Palm, Amazon would have free rein to redesign webOS to its own liking, and it would be able to further differentiate its Kindle devices from the slew of Android tablets in the market.”
We’ve asked Amazon if it wants to comment on the report, but in the meantime, something seems a little odd here.
Amazon has clearly been laying the groundwork for its new Android-based Kindle Fire for a long time, dating back (publicly, at least) to the launch of its own Android app store earlier this year. This was a shrewd move, allowing Amazon to launch its new tablet with an established platform for apps, without relying on Google’s Android Market.
Bringing webOS into the fold would be a huge change in course. Not that it couldn’t happen, but without further justification the report is a bit of a head-scratcher.
SlashGear comes to the same conclusion and speculates that Amazon might actually be interested in the Palm hardware.
But even that seems like a stretch, as evidenced by the fact that Amazon was essentially able to repurpose an existing tablet design for the first-generation Kindle Fire. Sure, a larger Kindle Fire modeled after the HP TouchPad might be interesting, but is it really so necessary that Amazon would go to the trouble of wading into the current mess at HP to acquire Palm?
Of course, unexpected things happen all the time in the tech world, and as we know, Jeff Bezos is more than willing to be misunderstood by the likes of us. But this is one of those stories that we’ll have a hard time believing until there’s an announcement. And we won’t be holding our breath.