Rumor Mill: Should Microsoft buy Palm?

Speculation that Palm will be scooped up by a well-capitalized tech company has intensified since the well-received release of the Palm Pre and the company's new operating system, webOS. While most of the commentary has centered around Dell possibly acquiring Palm, recent speculation pegs Microsoft as a potential suitor. 

"Microsoft should abandon (it's digital music player) Zune and follow Apple's strategy to try to make its presence felt in the high-growth smartphone sector," George Kurian, a vice president at Tradition Capital Management, recently told MarketWatch. To do so, he suggested the software giant simply purchase Palm to bolster its smartphone efrorts.

Such a move could be considered a thumb in the eye to Microsoft rival Apple, since Palm is now led by Jon Rubinstein, who was formerly the senior vice president of Apple's iPod division.

However, as CNET's David Carnoy notes, Microsoft is already heavily involved in the smartphone market--unlike Dell--and continues to upgrade its Windows Mobile platform. Indeed, Microsoft executives have promised the company's Windows Mobile 6.5 platform will provide a better browsing experience than the iPhone.

But there is precedent for a Microsoft purchase of Palm and the webOS. Microsoft in 2008 purchased Danger, which provided the operating system for T-Mobile USA's popular Sidekick line of phones.

For more:
- see this CNET article
- see this CNET article
- see this MarketWatch article

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