HP’s webOS operating system could soon be licensed to other manufacturers, after CEO Leo Apotheker confirmed that the company is already in dialogue with several potential suitors.
With Google powering ahead with Android and even Microsoft gaining momentum with its Windows Phone 7, HP looks set to embark on a radical change in strategy to catch up as it becomes increasingly obvious that it can’t fight the good fight on its own.
In a recent interview in Beijing, Apotheker said: “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.” Apotheker declined to elaborate or name the companies involved. However, business news hounds at Bloomberg have reportedly heard from at least three individuals aware of the negotiations that Korean electronics maker Samsung could be one of them.
Not long ago, Jon Rubenstein, former Palm boss and current HP Senior Vice President admitted during a Q&A that if HTC were to approach HP for webOS, it is “certainly something we would entertain”.
Strength in numbers
HP’s move is hardly surprising - perhaps somewhat inspired, even - by the success of Android, which is now the fastest growing smartphone platform and on course to become the biggest.
Following in Google’s footsteps and opening up webOS to third parties could go a long way for the computer giant as it looks to recoup the $1.2 billion it invested to acquire the webOS last summer. We’ve always felt webOS is full of potential that is only constrained by the hardware it’s on and a lack of clear strategy.
If HP could get the likes of Samsung and HTC – two companies that have been instrumental in the success of Android - to throw in their support behind webOS, there could be light at the end of the tunnel yet for the struggling platform.