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HTC's Chairwoman has stated that her firm is considering buying a proprietary operating system. Many think HP's defunct webOS could be an appealing target.  (Source: HP)
Could Taiwanese phone super-star finally give webOS the TLC its fans hoped for?

Google, Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system may be the industry gold standard, currently accounting for approximately 50 percent of global smart phone sales, but faced with intellectual property issues and market homogenization, many top Android phonemakers are reportedly considering creating or adopting proprietary operating systems.

The latest rumor, reported by the Economic Observer of China, claims that Taiwan's HTC Corp. (SEO:066570) is considering buying an operating system for use in its best-selling smart phones.

The publications quotes HTC chairwoman Cher Wang as stating, "We have given [purchasing a proprietary OS] thought and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse. We can use any OS we want. We are able to make things different from our rivals on the second or third layer of a platform. Our strength lies in understanding an OS, but it does not mean that we have to."

In other words HTC is content to currently use its Sense User Interface (UI) to differentiate itself on its target platforms, but it might want an operating system of its own.  While this is hardly a firm commitment, it's enough to spark much excitement in the mobile community as it leaves the door open that HTC might buy Hewlett-Packard Company's (HPQ) webOS.

WebOS was a promising operating system which had arguably some distinct advantages over its more successful competitors.  However, HP essentially ran it into the ground, failing to deliver compelling products and then bailing on its first webOS tablet after less than seven weeks on the market.

Rival South Korean phonemaker Samsung Electronics Comp, Ltd. (SEO 005930) was rumored to be considering purchasing webOS, but the company's CEO resoundingly denied these rumors.  Motorola Mobile, Inc. was rumored to be considering purchasing a third party operating system as well, before it was scooped up by Google.

Speaking of Motorola, HTC showed none of the fear of favoritism that Nokia Oyj.'s (HEL:NOK1V) CEO was sounding the alarm on.  HTC said that Google made the "correct" decision in buying Motorola, given that the acquisition bought Google intellectual property which it could use to defend its partners.  Google has said this was a key reason for the acquisition.

Ms. Wang stated that she expects Google to be very careful when considering how to sell Motorola branded devices, such as not to harm its third party hardware partners.


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RE: Why?
By RamarC on 9/12/2011 3:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
everybody has patents, and i'm sure webos will help add something to htc's patent library.

but uniqueness and feature control are probably 2 big benefits. htc will likely be able to make everything from teenie texting phones all the way up to android/iphone-competing superphones using webos as the basis and they won't have to pay anyone a royalty/license fee.

they'll be able to add unique touches that aren't available elsewhere and get closer to the closed ecosystem (total software and hardware control) that apple enjoys.


RE: Why?
By Pirks on 9/12/2011 4:12:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the closed ecosystem (total software and hardware control) that apple enjoys
Correction: "that Apple and RIM enjoy"


RE: Why?
By borismkv on 9/12/2011 5:28:26 PM , Rating: 5
I don't know if RIM is "Enjoying" it quite as much as Apple.


RE: Why?
By Pirks on 9/12/2011 6:29:18 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, with just 67% international revenue growth last quarter how can RIM possibly enjoy anything, right? ;-)


RE: Why?
By messele on 9/13/2011 3:04:30 AM , Rating: 2
They can have as much growth in turnover as they like, if the profits are dropping and they do not turn that around the company will sink.

As my chief always used to tell me; "Turnover for vanity, profit for sanity".


RE: Why?
By Pirks on 9/13/2011 6:29:47 AM , Rating: 2
Why would their profits fall when the market grows, their revenue grows too and BB prices stay as high as ever?


RE: Why?
By messele on 9/13/2011 7:24:30 AM , Rating: 2
Why indeed. That is the golden question and if you know the golden answer get in touch with RIM as they could use somebody to steer their ship through rough waters right now.

Fact is however, whether it be through rising cost of manufacturing, retailers squeezing their margins, exchange rate fluctuations or any other reason, RIM are not making the profits they should and they were once capable of.


RE: Why?
By Pirks on 9/13/2011 8:49:09 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah good point, I didn't pay attention to their profits. They are falling indeed, however with the recent release of the long in the making BB7 handsets profits should raise again.


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