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Putting Palm in HP’s hands

Forbes runs through the usual suspects in terms of which company is best-positioned to snatch up Palm, which has met only with busy signals in its quest to find a permanent owner. Nokia seems to be the mindshare front-runner but I’d be surprised if the global market share leader broke with its strong Symbian support. Besides, like Palm, Nokia has taken heat for the relative girth of its handsets.

In fact, I don’t like the fit for any of the big handset guys. However, HP would be a complementary new owner. HP understands platforms. Unlike Dell with its channel conflict dilemma, HP is already in the smartphone market. And HP has a strong digital lifestyle position from which it could scale down the Treo platform, accelerating the path Palm is already on and must must pursue to compete with inexpensive smartphones from Samsung, RIM and others. Garnet OS and Windows Mobile also still retain strong PC ties — which makes sense for HP. In short, Palm would round out HP’s “three screen” strategy.