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Palm for Sale?

Following quarterly results that saw Palm’s sales drop 29 percent and the company pushing phones into inventory channels far faster than they were being bought by consumers, Bloomberg is reporting that Palm is on the verge of offering itself up for sale. According to the report, Palm is working with Goldman Sachs Group and Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer.

The short list of potential buyers apparently includes Taiwan’s HTC Corp. and China’s Lenovo. But who is apparently not on the list? Computer maker Dell, who apparently mulled making an offer on Palm but passed.

Other industry speculation has pointed to Finland’s Nokia as a possible suitor for Palm.

Although HTC already makes well-regarded mobile devices, its interest in Palm makes sense in light of Apple’s recent surprise patent infringement suit against the company, which has HTC apparently serving as a proxy for Apple’s real target—Google’s Android operating system. Other than Apple’s iPhone and Android, Palm’s webOS represents one of the only mature modern smartphone platforms available—although to be sure many more want to move into the same leagues, including Intel and Nokia’s MeeGo and Samsung’s forthcoming Bada.

In the meantime, Palm has been focusing on opening new markets for its Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus smartphones; the company just announced a deal that will see the phones launching on AT&T “in the coming months.”