HP has given the first clear sign that it may be willing to license its webOS operating system to third-party manufacturers.
In a live Q&A session with All Things Digital, HP CEO Leo Apotheker revealed that the computer giant is ‘open’ to other manufacturers in the industry, provided their involvement represents an opportunity to grow the platform. This could even see HP make webOS available on third-party appliances and control devices.
When asked by a member of the audience if HP would be willing to share webOS with a competing smartphone manufacturer like HTC, Apotheker simply replied: “That is certainly something we would entertain”.
Meanwhile, Job Rubenstein, who’s currently serving as Senior Vice President at HP, also sang the same tune as Apotheker when quizzed on the company’s plans for the platform.
Speaking at Qualcomm Uplinq, the former Palm boss said: "We're not announcing anything today and our model is not to be a licensing business, but clearly there is tremendous strength in being able to build entire ecosystems to deliver a unified experience.
"I think that we'd be more than willing to partner with one or two special companies. Somebody who brings value to the ecosystem."
HP acquired Palm last summer for $1.2 billion (approx. £734 million). Since then it has announced the first-ever webOS powered tablet, the TouchPad, and the latest addition to Pre line-up of smartphones, the Pre 3, which are due to arrive to market later this year. Whether or not the company will decide to open up webOS for licensing may largely depend on the commercial performance of those devices.
We always felt that webOS is an excellent operating system but that it was held back by poor hardware and botched execution. Only time will tell if HP’s reach and marketing prowess will be enough to put it into contention with the big boys.
This is my next, Pocket-Lint