HP is now considering a sale of webOS

MSNBC reports that Hewlett-Packard is now considering selling their webOS software platform, despite previous reports that HP might shut down the division completely. An unidentified source said that the deal could fetch 'hundreds of millions of dollars,' but less than the $1.2 billion that HP paid to acquire Palm, the creator of the OS, in 2010.

The source also said that HP is being advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch on whether or not to sell the webOS unit. Oracle Corp was cited as a company that might be interested in acquiring the floundering OS. The webOS division comes with an extensive patent portfolio, not just the webOS software, making it attractive to many tech firms.

HP acquired webOS from Palm, when it acquired that company in a very expensive deal in 2010. It powered the short lived Touchpad, and although HP has said that they intend to support the software, even after discontinuing all hardware efforts, there have been many rumors surrounding the possibility of a shutdown, sale, or using it as an embedded OS.

Although it was well received at the time of its release in 2009 as the OS powering the Palm Pre, webOS has thusfar failed to gain a significant foothold in either the smartphone or tablet market, though not for lack of trying.

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15 Comments

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This is just about the best news I could have heard from HP about WebOS. Get it into the hands of someone that will support it, upgrade it, and put it on some kick-ass hardware! (But keep the touchstone...)

remixedcat said,

Webos is dead and im glad to say that.

have you even ever used it? Its leaps better than ios, android or wp7. Just needs a dedicated team to keep developing it and improving it.

smooth3006 said,
have you even ever used it? Its leaps better than ios, android or wp7. Just needs a dedicated team to keep developing it and improving it.

As an android user I agree. I love it on my TouchPad!

smooth3006 said,
have you even ever used it? Its leaps better than ios, android or wp7. Just needs a dedicated team to keep developing it and improving it.

Yep I'm an Android and iOS user and also really love webOS, I think its the best mobile OS around. Very elegant.

I think it needs to be turned open source.
I say this because the media and research firms have convinced the entire industry that there is no room in the mobile operating system ecosystem. HP will not be producing more devices based on the OS.
No other company would want to pick up that support.

It would also be a great gift to the folks who invested in their fire-sale.
A lot of them have the technical prowess to pick up the source and build it.

dotf said,
It would also be a great gift to the folks who invested in their fire-sale.
A lot of them have the technical prowess to pick up the source and build it.

I got one in the sale, and I'm having loads of fun modding and extending the built in apps already - super easy since most apps and the system UI is built in Javascript (or Enyo, Javascript with "classes" of a sort).
I've been trying to resist calling for open sourcing, but if the mention of Oracle in the above is true it seems the best option. Oracle just want the patents, there's no life for a consumer product there.
At this point, I've had a TouchPad two months and I've really fallen in love with webOS, the homebrew community and the Palm team themselves - they've maintain a sense of humour despite impending doom (http://www.webosroundup.com/20...eaked-hp-internal-document/). So yeh, I know C++ and a bunch of other languages, I'd put code in to an open source effort. Definitely.

I'd be very sad if webOS died with a whimper.