Hewlett-Packard is apparently negotiating over licensing its webOS operating system to other manufacturers, according to a new report.
Hewlett-Packard is apparently in negotiations with outside
manufacturers to license its webOS,
according to CEO Leo Apotheker. WebOS currently runs on HP's Palm smartphones,
as well as its upcoming TouchPad tablet.
"I can share with you that a number of companies have
expressed interest," he told an interviewer in Beijing, as
reported by Bloomberg June 29. "We are continuing our conversations."
Bloomberg also reported HP in discussions with Samsung over
porting webOS onto the latter's smartphones.
That detail, which came from unnamed "people with knowledge of the
discussions," was unconfirmed by either company.
HP has made no secret of its intentions to port webOS onto other manufacturers' devices, with a
March 9 Bloomberg report quoting Apotheker as saying the move could create a
HP inherited webOS when
it purchased Palm for $1.2 billion in 2010. While Palm had limited use of the
operating system to its smartphones, HP's intentions are much more broad-based,
with designs on installing the OS on smartphones, tablets, laptops and
In theory, webOS would
allow HP to create Apple-style synergy between products in different
categories. Unlike Apple, though, HP's aggressive moves risk alienating a
"I have little doubt this further soured the relationship
between HP and Microsoft, who likely wasn't given any heads up on this and has
undoubtedly had to explain it to board members, financial analysts and a number
of customers by now," Rob Enderle, principal analyst of the Enderle Group, told
eWEEK in March soon after HP announced its broad-based webOS
plans. "HP remains Microsoft's biggest seller of Windows PCs, and anything they
can do to weaken the franchise-and this does that on paper-is a problem for
PCs dual-booted with webOS will apparently begin shipping in
early 2012. In the meantime, a more immediate challenge awaits HP and its
operating system: the tablet market.
HP is gearing up to release its 9.7-inch TouchPad tablet
July 1, with
additional rumors that the company is prepping a 7-inch version for release
at a later point. In the United States, HP
will offer the 16GB version of the device for $499.99, and the 32GB version for
$599.99. The device relies on a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, faster than a
significant portion of the tablets already on the market.
"What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to
competing products is WebOS," Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general
manager of HP's Global Business Unit, wrote in a statement accompanying news of
the release date. "The platform's unmatched features and flexibility will
continue to differentiate HP products from the rest of the market for both
personal and professional use. This is only the beginning of what HP's scale
can do with WebOS."
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.