HP talking with others on licensing WebOS

If HP has its way, you could see its WebOS operating system on more devices than just its own products. Bloomberg reports that HP's CEO Leo Apotheker, when asked if WebOS could be licensed by third parties, replied by saying, "We are talking to a number of companies I can share with you that a number of companies have expressed interest. We are continuing our conversations.” The same article states via unnamed sources that one of the companies that HP has talked to about licensing WebOS is Samsung. Apotheker would not confirm that those talks have taken place.

Obviously HP would love to see the WebOS platform, which it acquired back in 2010 along with Palm, show up on other smartphones and tablets much like Google's Android or Microsoft's Windows Phone 7. But there are other issues that HP will have to deal with if that happens. Shaw Wu, a financial analyst for Sterne Agee & Leach Inc, is quoted in the article as saying, "The reality is that Google and Apple are in the driving seat here and consumers are voting with their dollars. The problem for HP here is how do they license it without competing with their own products?”

Meanwhile the HP TouchPad tablet, powered by WebOS is getting ready for its public debut on Friday with two models coming out for $499 (16 GB) and $599 (32 GB). However an early review of the TouchPad by The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg states that overall he "can’t recommend the TouchPad over the iPad 2."

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6 Comments

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I kinda wish maybe Microsoft and HP could work together and blend Windows Phone OS and WebOS. I'd like to see a smartphone with the interface of WP and the nice functionality as WebOS.

They will likely keep very strict hardware guidelines for the OS, like for WP7.
And I don't know if OEMs would choose to buy a license, over the free Android.

FMH said,
They will likely keep very strict hardware guidelines for the OS, like for WP7.
And I don't know if OEMs would choose to buy a license, over the free Android.

Stop calling Android free. Call it Royalty-free. The hidden costs of Android keep it from being far from free.

If I were in the device business I would consider licensing webOS instead of paying Microsoft for my free Android license. Not to mention the other hidden R&D costs.

I was a HUGE supporter of Palm and webOS. I waited outside for a Pre two years ago. Unfortunately, I just don't think that webOS can gain the necessary support from the community and developers to make a dent in the market. The fact that HP is even considering licensing webOS means that they have realized they may have made a huge mistake. I remember how it was so important for them to have their own OS to differentiate their phones from others.

Although WebOS is a really great OS, I don't think they have enough developer interest to get substantial market share. Either way, competition is always good for the consumer.