The past year and a half has been quite the roller coaster for the team at HP, and now that we're nearing the conclusion of the ride, there's one final hurdle to overcome: deciding what to do with webOS. VentureBeat, citing sources intimate with HP's negotiations to offload its Palm assets, reports that the company wants to be able to license webOS back for use in printers — it wants it so much, in fact, that the issue has become "a crucial part" of discussions. It should come as no surprise that HP is at least exploring the possibility of cutting its losses with webOS, but it beggars belief that the sticking point after all the drama of the past few months is printers. Then again, maybe there's something about the synergy between webOS and printers that HP knows and the rest of the world doesn't.

VentureBeat's sources go on to identify Intel and Qualcomm as being involved in these talks for acquiring the Palm asset portfolio. The usual proviso that accompanies unnamed sources applies here too. We won't know for sure until Meg Whitman or someone equally authoritative confirms it, but at least the resolution should be coming up soon. It's time the fate of webOS was decided conclusively.