HP evaluating sale of webOS

HP is reportedly weighing up a deal that could see webOS sold for "hundreds of millions of dollars".

Although that sounds like an awful lot of money for an operating system that arguably plays fourth or fifth fiddle in the smartphone and tablet arena, it's much less than the $1.2 billion that HP paid for Palm last year.

The potential deal, which Reuters cites "four sources close to the matter" as having knowledge of, is apparently seeing HP talking to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch for advice of how to proceed. "Several technology companies have expressed an interest," according to the report.

The question is, who?

Amazon was touted as potential suitors back in September. "A well-placed source tells us that HP is currently looking to rid itself of Palm as soon as possible, and that Amazon is the closest to finalising the deal, among a handful of contenders," explained business focused website Venturebeat.com.

Qualcomm has also been linked with the platform, although Cristiano Amon, senior vice president of product management at the San Diego based company told Pocket-lint: "We are happy to support webOS, whoever buys it. We don’t make hardware. And it wouldn’t make much sense to own another operating system."

Samsung has also ruled itself out, with CEO, Choi Gee Sung, saying that the company will "never" pursue a deal with HP over licensing the company’s webOS platform for its smartphones and tablets.

Other potential buyers include HTC; "We have given it thought and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse," HTC chairwoman Cher Wang reportedly said, and LG. The Korean company has struggled to make much of an impact on the smartphone scene in the western world, during its affiliation with Android, so may see a new direction as an opportunity.

Our money's on HTC. Or Amazon. Or LG. Actually, we've no clue - we'll just have to wait an see. Whoever it is, let's just hope they don't make a mess of it like its current owners.