It's no secret that Palm's Hail Mary of 2009 -- webOS and the launch of the Pre -- hasn't been the rousing success that the company so desperately needed. Profitability is a distant dream, Verizon isn't giving the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus the marketing support they need to rise to the top, some analysts suggest that the cash in the bank is only enough to last for another year or so, and the choice of Sprint as a long-term exclusive launch partner continues to be a pesky monkey on the back. All of these realities have led Palm to become a near-constant source of takeover speculation in recent months. Name a company -- any company -- and odds are they've been caught up in a rumor at one point or another: Nokia, Dell, RIM, Microsoft, Google, Nintendo (yes, Nintendo), the list goes on. Of course, not all of these deals would make much strategic sense, and only one -- if any -- will ultimately happen.

For its part, Palm boss Jon Rubinstein is as adamant as ever that the company intends to remain independent and swing to profitability, and as best as we can tell, he's still got financier Elevation Partners' support in that quest. But let's suspend reality for a moment and assume an acquisition does happen; who'd be the best fit? We like HTC -- we like HTC a lot, in fact. Let's take a look at why.
Of course, it just so happens that HTC is the most recent Palm suitor to be rumored this week -- and it seems like investors feel the same way we do, since they've led a 13 percent surge in its stock price on Friday alone. The first thing they teach you in the Apple School of Business is that what you say can be very, very different from what you mean -- and with Rubinstein's Cupertino roots, it's entirely possible that negotiations for a deal are already underway.

Either that, or they aren't.

Additional reporting by Nilay Patel