Who will buy webOS and why?
Well, Meg Whitman hosted her all hands on deck meeting and the fate of webOS is:
We don’t know what to do with it yet. We need more time.
Once again the sun is setting on webOS and HP is proving that it still doesn’t know sh** from Shinola. They bought Palm for 1.2 billion dollars and are letting it fester and grow mold, while the tech world around them decides the fate for them. “I don’t know” is an honest answer, I cannot deny that, however who in the HP corporate offices did the initial studies and cost projections about costs to compete and develop before the purchase was made?Or what analysis was done before the now departed Leo Apotheker flippantly tossed PALM and webOS and their PC business aside. The lack of confidence that these sort of actions give rise to is well deserved.
According to TheVerge, HP is is planning to hold an all hands meeting tonight. The most likely topic at the Meg Whitman led event is the future of the ill fated webOS. This gives credence to the rumors which have been bubbling around the tech waters of potential buyers. In the mobile/Tech arena the patents themselves are quite valuable, and would add some interesting flame to the fires of such battles as: Oracle Vs Google and Microsoft vs Android manufacturers. The short list of rumored buyers is as follows:
Oracle, would gain a lot of ammunition to use in it’s assault against Google. However this is a huge investment for any lawsuit, and might marginalize their returns in the event of a victory in the court rooms. It would on the surface seem to imply that they might have some holes in their strategy if they need to pad their argument at such costs. If Oracle does buy, it would be a shame to see webOS treated once again so poorly.
IBM hasn’t had a lot of victories in the OS front. (OS2 anyone?) They’ve made comfortable niche for themselves in support and Open Source and have walked far away from the consumer hardware marketplace.
RIM buying webOS would possibly give them an actually useful operating system on which to build, but it would further illustrate their gross incompetence. Their abandoning of QNX and their super incredible road map to future successes would be seen for what we all already know it to be: utter crap.
Amazon could provide an incredible back end, to their own distro, but right now they have the open source elements of Android for free. It wouldn’t be too difficult for them to release the next generation of Kindle Fire on webOS.
Intel could buy webOS. What would they do with it? The issue facing intel is their complete lack up a competitive CPU/GPU in the mobile space. With the amount of money Intel has for research and Development, it is painful to see how blindsided they’ve been to the shift in the market place.
Other buyers not in the rumor mill:
Google more than anyone could use the extra patents held by Palm, and it may very well help against Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, etc. for the upcoming mobility wars, which is rapidly becoming the modern day version of the Cola wars of the 80’s.
Cisco has a significant investment in telepresence, and their current efforts have gained almost no traction *cough*(pricing sucks… ahem). They could use this to help with VPN ready clients, management and enterprise tools as well.
Samsung is a manufacturing behemoth that could stand to differentiate it’s current product lines of TV’s home theaters, and the like by moving them into the smart home feature set. They could easily afford the development and support moving forward.
HTC has based its differentiation on intense modification and development of the Android in the form of SenseUI. This could be the next logical step in their growth even if the costs would be monumental to the company.
Microsoft?!?! It is unlikely but Microsoft is making so much money suing Android manufacturers, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if they snapped up webOS for their arsenal. Of course Microsoft buying up anything Linux is only a sign of the weakness of Windows Phone 7 and their aging business model.
Whatever Meg lays out tonight, HP is taking a huge loss selling off the carcass of webOS. In 2010 they paid 1.2 billion under the leadership of Mark Hurd. You can bet his voice is being heard from his new office at Oracle in purchasing rationale. I personally would like to see webOS resurrected, but the its chances for a Rocky-esque comeback after such brutal tampling by HP is becoming less likely.
See anyone we have left off of the list? Dell? Ford? Let us know.