HP beat Apple and Google to Palm acquisition

It has emerged that as many as 16 companies were involved in the race to snap up ailing PDA pioneer Palm earlier this year but all of them let HP slip in and snap up the company's valuable IP.

Business Insider says that some of Silicon Valley's hottest names were in the frame and that there were at least five serious suitors.

Apple was at the forefront of the bids, no doubt keen to get its hands on nearly 900 existing and potential patents held by the struggling maker of smartphones and software. There were even some whispers that the Cupertino company would continue to fund Palm's operation just to niggle Crackberry dealer RIM.

The Canadian company was a contender itself have initially outbid Hewlett Packard, but RIM dropped the ball spectacularly after HP came back with a unexpected raising of the ante.

World-dominating super-villain and search engine monopoly Google is also reported to have been sniffing around Palm's twitching corpse, but only because it didn't want Apple to get its hand on the goodies.

Conspicuous by their absence from the list are Nokia and Microsoft, both of which would have benefited greatly from Palm's massive cache of intellectual property.