HP buys Palm: the liveblog

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.