Well, we can't say we were expecting HP to step up and be the one to buy Palm
, but here we are, getting ready to liveblog the conference call. The deal is worth some $1.2b, and we've heard that HP is "doubling down" on webOS, so we're eager to find out what's in store -- and, quite frankly, we're excited to repeatedly hear that it's really, really true. It's about to start at 5PM EST, keep it locked right here.
5:27PM Oh, and thanks to everyone who sent in Photoshops -- we'll definitely have to do that again!
5:26PM And that's it! We definitely heard a lot of hints about upcoming slates, and it's clear HP's going to pump money at Palm -- things just got a lot more interesting, folks.
5:25PM Closing remarks from Todd: We're very excited about this deal, and we're lookinf forward to closing the acquisition. We think HP coupled with Palm will be a winning combination for customers, partners, shareholders and employees.
5:24PM A: We're going to be increasing that, and increasing sales and marketing as well. We're definitely investing heavily in this business in the next year.
5:24PM Q: On R&D, we think Palm invest $190m a year in research, is that going up or down?
5:23PM A: Our focus is to provide connected devices that give people what's important to them: work, entertainment, whatever. We're not content creators, but we are access providers. We're not getting into specifics yet.
5:23PM Q: We've seen Apple succeeding as a content platform as well as a hardware provider. Are you going to do that?
5:22PM A: We haven't made any announcements yet, but we'll get more granular as we get closer to finalizing the deal.
5:22PM Q: Are you keeping iPaq on Windows Mobile, or are you going totally webOS?
5:22PM A: We intend to operate Palm as a business unit within HP, and Jon Rubinstein is excited to run it within HP.
5:21PM Q: How do you intend to keep the Palm team within HP? Separate or integrated?
5:20PM A: The investments we make after we close the deal and go to market will be very important. We plan to invest in carrier relationships heavily -- HP supplies the infrastructure for 8 of the top 10 carriers in the world. We plan to focus on big carriers.
5:19PM Q: You're leveraging your positions with the carrier market -- what is HP's position with carriers, and how will you improve Palm's situation?
5:19PM A: We have a significant retention program in place. Jon Rubinstein is excited to build webOS, and his team is excited as well.
5:18PM Q: Clearly Palm's senior team is very good -- can we assume they're locked in?
5:18PM A: You have to break it up among the categories. We see the Pre and Pixi as one space that's very consumer-oriented, and we'll work on expanding that. We also see the tablet / slate market as growing with consumers, but there's also vertical opportunities there in health care and so forth. We'll talk timelines later.
5:17PM Q: What are the devices webOS will compete with? Consumer first, or where should we see the OS?
5:16PM A: First, we need to close the transaction before we talk timeline. Obviously we investigated the ability to create these products, but we're not there yet.
5:16PM Q: Timeline to port webOS to run on HP hardware and bigger screens?
5:15PM A: We believe the deal will close in fiscal Q3, and next year we'll leverage our scale to improve the cost models of the products.
5:14PM Answer: Between smartphones, slates, and potentially netbooks (!) there are a lot of opportunities here. As we invest in webOS, we can make it even more compelling than it is today. We continue to be a strategic partner with Microsoft, but we believe there's a unique opportunity with Palm.
5:13PM Big picture question: why acquire your own OS, instead of just going with Android, which has much more momentum? And are there any cost synergies?
5:12PM Question time!
5:12PM "Together, HP and Palm will make a powerful combination." And hey -- there's another picture of the HP Slate. We can't say we think the Slate will ever run webOS, but it's clear tablets of some kind are in the cards here.
5:11PM Going over the praise webOS has gotten from the press. "We will realize the full potential of this integrated solution."
5:11PM Given the financial commitment HP intends to make, we expect webOS to grow even faster.
5:09PM HP brings to the table financial strength -- we intend to invest heavily in product development, and we intend to drive this market.
5:09PM The innovative OS Palm has developed bring rich experiences, including true multitasking. Behind that is a strong IP portfolio, and behind that is a deep bench of engineering talent.
5:08PM HP's psyched about webOS, the app store, and owning the whole device.
5:07PM Palm will allow HP to deliver compelling, connected mobile experiences. And hey -- it's a picture of the Pre, the Pixi, and... the HP Slate. Tablets, anyone?
5:06PM Todd Bradley from HP is now on the line. "The acquisition of Palm is a transformational moment."
5:05PM The merger is expected to close in HP's third quarter, and it's an all-cash transaction.
5:03PM It's starting -- Jim Burns, HP's VP of investor relations is on the line. Reiterating the pricing details: $5.70/share, for a total of $1.2b.
5:02PM The music is extremely uplifting. Think Titanic mixed with Pocahontas.
4:58PM Just got the message that the call is starting shortly -- get ready, folks.
4:54PM We can't confirm this, but we've heard that HP also officially filed for divorce from Jesse James today as well.