MSNBC reports that Hewlett-Packard is now considering selling their webOS software platform, despite previous reports that HP might shut down the division completely. An unidentified source said that the deal could fetch "hundreds of millions of dollars," but less than the $1.2 billion that HP paid to acquire Palm, the creator of the OS, in 2010.
The source also said that HP is being advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch on whether or not to sell the webOS unit. Oracle Corp was cited as a company that might be interested in acquiring the floundering OS. The webOS division comes with an extensive patent portfolio, not just the webOS software, making it attractive to many tech firms.
HP acquired webOS from Palm, when it acquired that company in a very expensive deal in 2010. It powered the short lived Touchpad, and although HP has said that they intend to support the software, even after discontinuing all hardware efforts, there have been many rumors surrounding the possibility of a shutdown, sale, or using it as an embedded OS.
Although it was well received at the time of its release in 2009 as the OS powering the Palm Pre, webOS has thusfar failed to gain a significant foothold in either the smartphone or tablet market, though not for lack of trying.