WebOS Sale Will Reportedly be Announced Today
October 11, 2011 12:24 PM
HP looks to wash its hands of Palm
Fans of Palm, Inc. surely loathe the world's largest computer maker, Hewlett-Packard Comp. (
). After all, HP
purchased Palm and its webOS mobile operating system in April 2010
and then succeeded to
run it into the ground
in less than a year and a half. But there's hope yet for webOS fans as HP is
near to announcing plans to either sell or spin off the languishing Palm unit.
While webOS still has some loyal fans, it's now essentially dead on the market. Once viewed as the strongest competitor to Apple, Inc.'s (
) iPhone, Palm's mismanagement led to its 2010 fire sale to HP. If Palm was in bad shape before the sale, it quickly found itself in an even worse position. HP refused to invest the capital necessary to make the webOS devices serious market entrants, squandering the strong mobile operating system that Palm had maintained and produced.
A spinoff of the Palm unit is a possible, but unlikely outcome. A new Palm, Inc. would likely lack the cash necessary to offer a competitive hardware lineup, and lack the influence necessary to attract third parties to a licensing-driven scheme, particularly in the packed smartphone market.
The most likely final outcome is a sale of webOS (or what's left of it) to a mobile hardware maker interested in using the OS on some of its devices. Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
unequivocally stated that it had no interest in buying webOS
. Thus the most likely bidders would seemingly be
), Amazon, Inc. (
), or Google Inc. (
) (who could use parts of webOS, e.g. its slick multi-tasking interface to improve the Android operating system).
It's important, though, to remember that much of the talent on the webOS team has
already left or been laid off
. Thus if a third party takes on the platform, it will have significant rebuilding work to do, to restore the webOS team to full functionality.
"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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