There's nothing conflicting about this and selling the Touchpads cheaply to developers. It's not going back and forth, it's probably all part of the same plan.
IBM or Intel might be better for WebOS than the others. Amazon would probably dummy it down, and they're more of a retailer than a real tech company, although that seems to be slowly changing. RIM? Who are they? Does anyone even care anymore? Oracle. Ellison is a jerk, and I don't think them owning WebOS would thrill the industry, or get many partners. They aren't that easy to work with.
Intel would port it to x86, for sure, and want to sell hardware with it, so that's a downside. But, they'd invest heavily in it, and would make it inexpensive to license, since the main purpose would be to promote hardware sales. They'd want it very attractive, and they have the deep pockets to do it.
IBM has a lot of software experience, and created OS/2, which was very good software. Why they'd want it is somewhat of a question; it's not clear how it fits into their business model. Sadly, it might be for the patents, and little else. It might be that they see an opportunity to make money from it by licensing it, and if that's the case, it would bode well for it. IBM has a lot of experience with software, and user interfaces, and if they decide to push this OS, could do a lot of good things for the industry. Of course, they killed OS/2, so ...