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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 Pirks on 6/30/2011 2:06:23 AM , Rating: 3
Why so serious?


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard














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