We're having a hell of a time believing this, but BusinessInsider's Dan Frommer is citing "a source familiar with the negotiations" as saying that RIM, Google, and Apple -- yes, Apple -- were all in the mix for Palm at one point or another as the bidding war went on earlier this year. We all know how that story ended up playing out, but prior to HP's winning bid, RIM allegedly made a generous offer and could've ultimately come away with the prize had it not failed to re-up the bid (and may have even reduced it, looking at Palm's SEC filings) after HP made its move. For its part, Google apparently made some not-too-serious moves, primarily in a perceived head game with Apple.

Speaking of Apple, the company was said to be in it primarily for Palm's sizable patent portfolio -- but is claimed to have also been interested in keeping the platform alive, possibly in an effort to compete in the physical QWERTY market where the iPhone has not. Of course, if you look way back, it's important to remember that Mac OS X itself is based on outside work (if you consider NeXT "outside"), so we guess that keeping webOS alive in some capacity after an Apple acquisition wouldn't be totally unprecedented -- but it'd still be really, really weird at best.

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