Has HP suddenly become Google’s worst nightmare?

“After a sort of stay-the-course introductory speech, [new CEO Meg] Whitman’s influence at HP has begun to be felt,” Gene Steinberg writes for TechNightOwl. “The PC division won’t be shed, but the Palm platform, known as WebOS, will be made open source, shades of Google’s Android.”

“Is that a potential Android killer? Certainly, speculation will grow in the weeks to come, but a little reality check is in store. We all know that the WebOS is a failed product,” Steinberg writes. “Palm couldn’t make a go of it independently, HP’s attempt with the TouchPad was an egregious failure. Do they honestly expect handset companies to be willing to invest millions into building WebOS gear instead of Android?”

Steinberg writes, “Sure, there may be incentives. It’s not as if Apple was flooding HP with intellectual property lawsuits over the WebOS. It doesn’t mean it’s necessarily free and clear, but you have to think that having to pay royalties to Microsoft, and fighting Apple’s lawyers too, would combine to tempt Android handset makers to look elsewhere… If a free WebOS encourages software developers to do the work and raise its potential, maybe Google will have something to fear.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
HP to open source webOS – December 9, 2011


  1. the cost of free is the device makers will spend a fortune writing updates for the OS as well as device drivers. not worth it when it’s already available on android and MS will do it for you as part of WP7

    1. The same could be said of Linux, but there somehow seems to be updates and drivers available for popular distros like Ubuntu. I bet the companies who make chips for the phones could handle writing good drivers for their hardware under webOS. And/or someone (or some company) could certainly become the official ‘maintaner’ of webOS and build an ecosystem that could benefit themselves and the webOS community.

      Likely? I have no freaking idea.

    2. If you sell just 1,000,000 handsets per year, paying MSFT $15 per Win8 license, you save money opting for the “expense” of maintaining your own version of webOS. The “Pre” was actually a decent handset, Palm just didn’t have the resources to buck Apple’s runaway train. HP’s implementation of webOS for a tablet, was horribly rushed to market, well before it was ready.

  2. I hope webOS has a great life as an open source platform.

    Im just not sure its near ready to take on something like android yet and HP still has a long way to go to actual release of source.

    I hope they both thrive personally. Choices are a good thing imho

  3. I think the biggest problem with Palm’s webOS devices were the hardware and the Pre’s launch as an exclusive on Sprint. webOS itself was brilliant – very well thought-out, easy to use, nice to look at, etc. If a handset maker like HTC or LG pick up webOS (and maybe license internal hardware designs from HP), there could be some VERY nice phones that would be better than Android, IMO. (Motorola’s out because of the Google acquisition of their mobile division and Samsung is out because their hardware SUCKS) Of course if that *were* to happen, it could be another year or two until we’d see any new webOS devices, and by that time it may be too late (unless they can get the hype machine going asap).

  4. They should just steal what Android has “done” from Google…Just as Google stole from Apple. Then Microsoft can steal from everyone…and we’ll be right back where we were a decade ago.

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