Just over a year after acquiring Palm, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is reportedly exploring a deal to unload Palm's webOS mobile software platform in an effort to recoup an investment that is now seen by analysts as questionable.
According to Reuters, Palo Alto, Calif.-based H-P is being advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE:BAC) about what to do with the division.
A number of companies have expressed interest in making a bid and likely interested parties include Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), Reuters reported.
H-P, the world's largest PC maker, acquired smartphone maker Palm last year for $1.2 billion in an effort to leap into the fast-growing mobile market. However, Palm faced fierce competition from Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and devices powered by Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android system.
H-P surprised some by disclosing plans earlier this year to terminate its TouchPad tablet, which used the webOS platform.
Rival tech companies are intrigued by the division's valuable patents, which could allow them to ward off potential patent infringement lawsuits, Reuters reported. While the sale of the division could generate several hundred million dollars, it will likely pale in comparison with the $1.2 billion value of the original Palm buy, the wire service reported.
The decision to explore a sale of the webOS division comes just weeks after former eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) chief Meg Whitman replaced Leo Apotheker as H-P's CEO. Whitman last month scrapped Apotheker's plan to spin off H-P's PC division.
Shares of H-P were mostly unchanged Tuesday morning, slipping 0.04% to $27.87. They have tumbled more than 30% year-to-date.