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webOS Fate Dodgy

HP is supposedly entertaining some potentially large volume webOS licensing deals

HP's webOS chief Stephen DeWitt, a month in the job, told the AllThingsD blog Monday that the company still means to ship webOS on all its PCs and printers next year, which was its intention months ago before it killed off its app-starved webOS devices and decided it wanted out of the PC biz.

Bloomberg, citing no sources, says the opposite.

HP is supposedly entertaining some potentially large volume webOS licensing deals now that HP has pulled the plug on its webOS tablets and smartphones but apparently it doesn't know whether to license the software to other device makers, partner with a single company, focus on non-device uses, or something else.

HP could also try to sell off Palm's reported 1,650 patents and applications to try to make back the $1.2 billion it laid out for the joint.

There's only one little thing: Patent troll Acacia Research, which is suing the better part of the smartphone contingent down Texas way and apparently succeeding - Motorola, Nokia and RIM have agreed to settle - claims to have rights to a lot of the "foundational" webOS IP, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Acacia CEO Paul Ryan told the paper, "We basically control the software, and HP controls the hardware."

Apparently it goes back to when Palm spun off PalmSource - remember that? Well, PalmSource was acquired by Access, the Japanese concern, which has a partnership with Acacia. Small world isn't it.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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