The minuscule teleconferencing specialist has agreed to buy HP's Visual Collaboration division for $89 million. This deal was supposed to go the other way around, as cash-rich HP seeks plug-in acquisitions, but that wasn't in the cards.
Instead, HP is shedding a hardware unit. That makes plenty of sense, given fresh-faced CEO Leo Apotheker's software-heavy background. Why not trim down a few low-margin hardware units and refocus on what the boss knows best?
The deal makes Polycom the go-to solution for HP customers with an interest in teleconferencing, and includes a two-way commitment to provide Polycom applications for HP's WebOS platform. Before you scoff at that idea, remember that HP has extended that software from a pure-play mobile platform onto stationary gear such as printers. Teleconferencing systems would just be another step in that journey away from HP-Palm's now insignificant stake in the smartphone industry.
The agreement also precludes any kind of relationship -- acquisitive or otherwise -- between Polycom and chief rival Cisco Systems
Teleconferencing is suddenly hot again, after Microsoft
Be ready to put two and two together the next time Polycom makes a seemingly unpredictable move. Just add Polycom and a few key rivals to your Foolish watchlist, and you won't miss a thing: