Palm and HP seem like the happiest of corporate couples right now, but theirs was a heated courtship: according to Palm's latest statement to shareholders, a total of 16 companies were contacted about a deal, and HP was the winner of a month-long bidding war that involved serious offers from five companies -- a bidding war that involved Jon Rubinstein personally warning HP that it had to "significantly and immediately" increase its offer to remain in the game. What's more, HP's winning bid came in at just 20 cents a share more than its primary rival. Yeah, it's juicy -- read on for the full blow-by-blow.
Yeah, it's a crazy story, and it gets even wilder: Palm says Company C never signed an NDA, so it's more than likely we'll eventually find out who it was. Your guess is as good as ours -- Lenovo? ZTE? Dell? Either way, it looks like HP pulled this off in the nick of time.

[Thanks, Herman]