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HP seems fairly committed to the idea of licensing webOS, but it still has to work out monetization, as licensing could cut into its own gadget sales.  (Source: The Gadgeteer)

RIM is one company that could benefit from licensing. RIM already has a "new" in house operating system, QNX Neutrino, but arguably webOS is more refined.  (Source: Blackberry Cool)
Samsung and RIM are two possible licensing targets, HP still needs to figure out monetization

In an interview given in China's capital city of Beijing, Hewlett-Packard, Comp. (HPQ) CEO Léo Apotheker revealed that HP may license webOS, the tablet and smart phone operating system it took on when it acquired Palm.

There are more than a a few die-hard webOS users out there, but HP has had trouble keeping up with the giants like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) in terms of sales and number of apps.

Mr. Apotheker believes licensing may hold the key to a webOS revival.  He states, "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."

Licensing webOS would be tricky, in that it would create competition against HP's own mobile products.  Ultimately, the company would have to get involved with advertising and data mining -- as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Google have -- for the move to make sense financially.  Given the size of HP, it likely has some minor holdings in these fields, but it does not appear to have a great deal of experience there.  Of course acquisitions could help to change that.

The move to licensing is intriguing, as it leaves Apple and Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) as the only smart phone OS makers in the market not to license their product.

While most of the talk about whom HP would license to involves Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (SEO:005930) -- who is rumored to be irritated at Google for dissuading it from modifying the Android interface -- another likely party could be RIM.  RIM, like Finland's Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V), is in a world of trouble when it comes to sinking sales.  Not to take anything away from RIM's planned future smart phone OS -- QNX -- but webOS is arguably the better operating system.  It seems inevitable that RIM will sooner or later look to an outside operating system -- an alliance between RIM and HP could be mutually beneficial in this packed market.

That said, the much talked about Samsung rumor is also intriguing.  Samsung is currently the biggest Android phone and tablet maker, and is preparing to pass Nokia for the world phone sales lead.  Even a partial switch to webOS would be serious concern for Google as a no-confidence vote from one of its strongest supporters.

Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf says that the might Google did show some signs of weakness for the first time, dipping in the U.S. from 52.4 percent of sales to 49.5 percent in the March quarter.  Mr. Wolf claims that market share largely went to Apple.  However, he does point out as well that Android posted a large gain for the quarter in global sales, so it's still Google's game to lose.


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By retrospooty on 6/30/2011 12:39:06 AM , Rating: 4
I'll back it up. WebOS beats the stink off ios and android. I am as amazed as anyone by this, but its really good. I cant believe Palm made it LOL.

I believe Anand reviewed it here a while back and was quite impressed as well. The only issue is IOS and Android are so entrenched now, WebOS may never take off, even though its better.


By retrospooty on 6/30/2011 12:43:21 AM , Rating: 2
I meant to add, most independent reviewers agree. WebOS may be the best mobile OS to never take off.

Its UI designed by the same dood that designed IOS for Apple. Its basically his 2nd, more educated and experenced crack at it. The card based UI and true multitasking is unrivaled. Palms hardware sucks bad though, so I would be really glad to see other makers use it.


RE: webOS is more refined? webOS is arguably better?
By Pirks on 6/30/2011 12:51:11 AM , Rating: 2
Well, maybe it beats the stink out of iOS and Android, but I was more interested in comparing it with QNX on Playbook. With such a high end and polished tablet hardware and QNX software layer on Playbook I doubt RIM would be interested in licensing webOS, since it's not better than Playbook QNX, it seems.


By omnicronx on 6/30/2011 1:18:57 AM , Rating: 2
Ya i don't see RIM in particular licensing WebOS, it makes little sense for them when you consider their acquisition of QNX and their plan to migrate it to smartphones as well.. If it were more popular perhaps, but its not like WebOS has a large fanbase.

Not to mention all the good parts of WebOS were already ripped off and slapped into the playbook anyways ;)


RE: webOS is more refined? webOS is arguably better?
By Pirks on 6/30/2011 1:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
Good point. RIM tried to acquire webOS a few years ago but HP overbid them. So after all this Mick is just talking outta his a$$ when he mentions RIM licensing webOS from HP. No way RIM will license webOS after losing bid to HP. Samsung on the other hand...


By kleinma on 6/30/2011 10:10:14 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't motorola rumored to be working on their own mobile OS as well?

competition is good for consumers, but none of these platforms have any cross compatibility. So once you decide you want to be an iPhone owner, or an android owner, and once you make that investment in the platform, to learn how it all works, to buy a few apps (and download lots of free ones) and get it all set up how it works best for you (if you have a phone that allows such customizations) it makes it really hard to then want to change camps due to the hassle of it all, not to mention the apps you purchased will have to be purchased again on the new platform (if they are even available).


By Pirks on 6/30/2011 11:25:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
none of these platforms have any cross compatibility
What about Playbook compatibility with Android? They gonna do something, RIM said they are working on it.


By nstott on 6/30/2011 11:30:35 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Samsung on the other hand...

...will license WebOS until they're done reverse-engineering it.


By mondo1234 on 6/30/2011 12:41:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With such a high end and polished tablet hardware and QNX software layer on Playbook I doubt RIM would be interested in licensing webOS


Unless they need an email client


RE: webOS is more refined? webOS is arguably better?
By Pirks on 6/30/2011 1:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
gmail is your email client


By mondo1234 on 7/1/2011 1:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
gmail is your email client


You mean "Clientless" ?

I assume you are talking about browser based email.


By Pirks on 7/4/2011 11:02:58 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, the best email client tech ever


RE: webOS is more refined? webOS is arguably better?
By Samus on 6/30/2011 1:21:49 AM , Rating: 3
All you need to know about webOS is Windows 7 and iOS have both ripped off practically every innovation they've added to their mobile OS business since Summer 2009.

Android is still lingering in 2009, it hasn't added anything new, because 95% of mobile devices still run 2.1-2.3. Sure, Honeycomb adds some stuff, mostly tablet oriented, but the truth is Android is so dated that manufactures such as Samsung and Motorola are being pushed to add their overlay interfaces just to give it simple functionality such as a useful lock screen or pop-up text messages.

I'd call webOS substantially more refined than Android, because like Linux, Android is a base and Google leaves it up to the manufactures to tweak and deploy it, which is why there is such a slow progression of updates. webOS is developed, deployed and supported by one company that makes sure it is a final product before it enters the market.


By damianrobertjones on 6/30/2011 3:48:44 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 7?

Would you mean Windows mobile 7


By Aloonatic on 6/30/2011 9:48:09 AM , Rating: 3
Windows 7?

Would you mean Windows mobile 7?

Would you mean Windows Phone 7? ;o)


By bplewis24 on 6/30/2011 11:07:22 AM , Rating: 1
You should stop talking about Android, because you clearly know nothing about it.


By fteoath64 on 7/1/2011 6:24:58 AM , Rating: 2
I believe there is room for a "third player" that is strong. And I do not mean MS/Nokia, they screwed their chances by delaying. Most users who could get into the clunkiness of Android will not touch WP7.
WebOS is "up there" in terms of competitiveness in OS features and usability. The top two players are extreme in their differences which means there is opportunity room for WebOS for being balanced in what it does.
You see, Apple is totally closed and only 1 model (Model-i). Android has the diverse range of models and there, rises its problems, software compatibility and fragmentation of the OS. Look Froyo, GB and HC all swimming in the ecosystem.
If WebOS can spread across its range seamlessly with strong hardware and strong focus, it can make it.
ie those sick of Apple's control and sick of Android's quickiness/confusion goto WebOS. HP needs to build strong Cloud services and back-ends to handle Corporate integration and home integration. On both counts the leaders are rather weak in this area. It is HP's forte, just go DO it.


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer














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