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HP looking to sell webOS mobile patents, says Bloomberg

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HP webOS_640
HP webOS_640

HP could be making a further break from its webOS past: Bloomberg News reports that the company is looking to sell part of its mobile patent portfolio. Anonymous sources say HP has removed some conditions that would make the patents less attractive and is now approaching potential buyers about taking on the intellectual property from, among other things, its webOS mobile platform. HP acquired webOS in 2010 when it bought Palm, and the operating system was used on the Palm Pre phone and HP TouchPad tablet, among other devices. But HP's mobile division ultimately floundered; the company made webOS an open source platform, then sold the code off to LG in February of 2013.

While LG owns webOS as a project, though, HP kept control of the patents behind it and simply cut a licensing deal with LG. That could pay off now, as CEO Meg Whitman continues her attempts to get the company back on track. LG hopes to release TVs running webOS in 2014, and Bloomberg's sources say that HP's patent agreement won't make it harder to sell off the portfolio. Besides the patents, HP also maintained control of webOS cloud services. Though Whitman has continued to insist that the company can be saved, revenue fell by 8 percent last quarter, with all units underperforming. A plan to increase revenue by 2014, she said after the earnings were revealed, now seems unlikely.