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HP Pondering Sale of WebOS

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the historically-predictable dept.

HP 99

Rambo Tribble writes "Reuters reports HP is seeking to sell WebOS, at the bidding of its financial advisers. Sounds like open sourcing it is off the table. From the article: 'HP is trying to figure out how to recoup its investment in Palm, viewed by many analysts and investors as an expensive foray into the smartphone market that has not paid off. Several technology companies have expressed an interest in buying the division, which is seen as attractive for its patents, the sources said. Amazon.com Inc, Research In Motion, IBM, Oracle Corp and Intel Corp are considered to be among the companies likely to be interested in the asset, industry sources said.'"

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99 comments

WTH HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991102)

Shouldn't HP figure out what the hell it will be good at? Clearly they are having a problem with corporate vision and future goals.

Re:WTH HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991168)

They like the easy money in corporate sales

Re:WTH HP (2)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991414)

A better question - what sort of idiot would BUY WebOS off of HP at this point? It's basically a dead product, with no usable lifespan left.

Re:WTH HP (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991724)

I'm guessing what makes it attractive are the patents. Perhaps Google would buy it for that reason?

Re:WTH HP (1)

JazzLad (935151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992242)

Considering how much more advanced multitasking is in WebOS than Android, I REALLY hope Google buys it, this is what they need to make Android feel more polished than iOS

Re:WTH HP (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996556)

> Considering how much more advanced multitasking is in WebOS than Android,

I have read that a few times, but what does it mean? Android multitasks just fine, since a very early version.

The task switcher of WebOS looks better, that's true. You can stop programs (Android does that "automatically"). But apart from that it is not necessarily more functional.

Re:WTH HP (1)

JazzLad (935151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37999080)

It is more functional for the typical smartphone user, as it is much easier (and more intuitive) to do. Sure, anyone that can learn can learn to do it the way Android does it, but the way WebOS multitasks is the way iOS would if it could multitask (well). It just works.

Re:WTH HP (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992306)

I'd buy it.

$5. Take it leave it HP.

Re:WTH HP (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992524)

$5. Take it leave it HP.

I offer $7.50 Canadian.

Re:WTH HP (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992558)

Its lifespan is only defined by the products that run it. It is a good, solid mobile OS that languished without the marketing hype it needed. It's the best product that nobody considered buying. For the record, when I had the choice between the Motorola Droid and the Palm Pre Plus, I chose the latter. WebOS has the better interface. Now, when I replace my smartphone, I'll be going with an Android phone since there are no new WebOS devices.

Re:WTH HP (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37995814)

Well, anyone looking to enter the tablet market w/ new tablets would do well to buy this from HP, rather than develop their own. Unless, like HP, they think that making Windows 8 tablets is a better idea.

Re:WTH HP (4, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991438)

Not only HP - clearly the analysts and investors have no clue either. A large acquisition hasn't had a positive ROI in the first 6 months of the deal? Shocking! Burn everything, and start from scratch!

Sometimes I think that Ellison and Jobs were successful BECAUSE they are/were assholes. They have a vision and relentlessly execute it; screw everyone else. Anybody who spends time listening to everybody around them and taking their opinions into account will be driven insane and into bankruptcy.

Re:WTH HP (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992024)

Sometimes I think that Ellison and Jobs were successful BECAUSE they are/were assholes. They have a vision and relentlessly execute it; screw everyone else.

One could say that about Darth Vader. [geekwire.com]

Re:WTH HP (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37998890)

Sometimes I think that Ellison and Jobs were successful BECAUSE they are/were assholes

That is hardly news. People who define success purely by how much money they make are universally assholes.

There are far more important measures of success than wealth. For fuck's sake, Donald Trump and George W Bush are rich, and they're practically retards.

So, IBM will open source it, I hope? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991140)

I hope IBM buys WebOS, open sources it, and sparks a new generation of personal devices!

Re:So, IBM will open source it, I hope? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991878)

And then sells some of the patents in some agreement with Google so that Google can defend Android with them.

Oracle... wtf is Oracle going to do with it? Kill it and then start suing everyone?

Well... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991142)


Sell it to RIM!

Re:Well... (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991354)

QNX > WebOS

Unless RIM sells QNX to someone who can do something with it.

Re:Well... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991818)

QNX is a nice kernel, WebOS has a nice UI. Ripping Linux out of WebOS and replacing it with QNX might make a nice system.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37999468)

I like your thinking. You are not Meg Whitman.

Amazon? Why? (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991160)

I can't see what Amazon would do with it. They're heavily invested in Android now with their existing devices and Android App Store.

Re:Amazon? Why? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991340)

"Several technology companies have expressed an interest in buying the division, which is seen as attractive for its patents."

Nothing could possibly go wrong with this.

Re:Amazon? Why? (2)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991356)

I think the answer you are looking for is there in the summary. They would want the patents. Maybe some things in android could be improved with those patents?

Oh man *please* don't let it be Oracle... (2)

darronb (217897) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991218)

Talk about a disaster. Again.

Where's it going to stop? Oracle hiring Linus? :)

Amazon the best match (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991228)

Amazon is already heavily customizing Android to the point where they are kind of diverging from the mainstream - they may as well go further and add in some WebOS ideas into the system. I think it could be a great match. They would have the most unique Android tablet by far, which they are already a good ways along with.

Re:Amazon the best match (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991774)

I would think it's HTC. For one, they've publicly stated they want one [slashdot.org]. They've also been sued a few times for Android and it would really help them to have a legitimate option to switch away from Android when bargaining on licensing fees.

But the biggest reason is that they're in the best position to actually make something of WebOS. The problem with WebOS was never the software...it was the crap hardware that it shipped on. I know a Pre owner who went through 8 of them before switching to Android. If there's one thing HTC does really well it's make good, cheap phones. If they started shipping WebOS phones, we might actually see whether it would be popular were it not for the crap hardware that's limited it in the past.

Re:Amazon the best match (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992382)

Amazon though has an Amazon specific app store, and a lot better ability to provide content well-integrated with the device. That's why all around I think Android has the highest chance of success at a non-iPad tablet, WebOS or no... but WebOS would make it even better.

of all the mobile OS's (2)

magsk (1316183) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991294)

I personally have found webOS to be the best one. I think webOS has suffered because of poor hardware not because there is anything wrong with the OS. Bought a touchpad during the firesale and really enjoy using it, only complaint is the obvious lack of apps.

Re:of all the mobile OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991410)

But have you put cyanogenmod on it? On my TP CM7 runs much better than WebOS does, no lags. Point being I don't think it's the hardware. CM7 also solved the lack of apps problem. I never boot WebOS anymore.

Re:of all the mobile OS's (1)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37995146)

I agree with Anonymous Coward. CM7 feels a lot snappier than WebOS did on my Touch Pad, and my Touch Pad sees a lot more use now than it did before.

For me though it's less about apps or performance than about the web browser. The WebOS browser didn't work correctly with a number of sites that I frequent (with Slashdot being one of them), while the Android browser is pretty solid.

I think that WebOS showed a lot of promise and with a little more support it could have grown into a great OS. Browser issues could have fixed and performance could have been tuned. It's been several weeks since I've used WebOS, but I still find myself trying to use the flick-up-to-close gesture in my iPhone and Android devices.

Surprised Google isn't mentioned (1)

Scyber (539694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991302)

I'd assume they would be interested in the Palm patents.

Re:Surprised Google isn't mentioned (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991496)

There's a lot of nifty design choices that I really like in WebOS, more so than in Android if I'm being honest. Snatch it up, open source the code, keep the patents in reserve for the next round of the patent wars, and give Android a bit of a face lift. Seems like a wining formula to me.

Nokia (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991304)

If they blend the best of Maemo, Meego, Tizen, Symbian and WebOS, all laced with Qt, they could get an ecosystem. Too bad is located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, where only strange creatures lives in. They still have a chance before Microsoft curse finish to kill them.

Re:Nokia (1)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37993424)

Nokia already had this hands full trying to convince his developers to stay around (I'm not saying they aren't managing to get it, just that they are pretty busy doing that).

With Symbian going down, the WP7 entry point and Linux going up (as Nokia recently stated [slashdot.org]), I don't think Nokia has any momentum to spare trying to push WebOS on their software pipelines.

Re:Nokia (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996572)

> If they blend the best of Maemo, Meego, Tizen, Symbian and WebOS, all laced with Qt

The question is: why would you want to blend together all the approaches that failed in the mobile space? Maemo clearly had potential, but it failed to attract any customers.

Re:Nokia (1)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997042)

No, Meego-partner Intel should buy WebOS and use what it can to prop up Meego, to replace what Nokia dropped. Intel should also support the Qt development environment, for all the same reasons.

I could see Intel distributing/supporting Meego on various phones/tablets/netbooks in this regard and enjoying similar success, just as Google has done.

The only reason Intel wouldn't do that would be not to piss off Microsoft, but Microsoft is less relevant in the mobile space and Intel wants to be there. Hey, its almost 2012 folks, not 1990.

Just don't let a good thing die! (3, Informative)

y2imm (700704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991314)

I have a Pre and Touchpad, because of webOS. My Pre died pre-maturely *yup, thanks* and I replaced it, with a Pre. I've had the old Windows Mobile, Palm OS, proprietary systems, Android, and iOS. Palm/HP hardware sucks, but the OS is the sweetest ever. Intuitive, smooth multitasking, just gorgeous. To lose it would be a shame, especially if the alternative is iOS. Inelegant by comparison. Yes I know, a gillion apps. Same for Android.

Re:Just don't let a good thing die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991450)

I agree. It's a sad truth though that in the tech industry- the best design doesn't mean much. You only need "good enough" and enough money/reputation/marketing to dominate a particular space. WebOS may blow away the competition, especially as far as usability goes, but iOS and Android are both good enough and have Apple and Google behind them. WP7 will make it as a solid third place as long as MS is willing to dump money into keeping it going. Anyone else, though, is doomed to failure or in the best case, a very niche market.

Re:Just don't let a good thing die! (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991556)

one thing that pissed me off about webos - when you select text that is larger than the text box.. how the hell do you scroll back to the left??

Re:Just don't let a good thing die! (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37993368)

yeah, some arrow keys would be nice... anyone know how to make that happen?

Re:Just don't let a good thing die! (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996130)

After the text is selected, you expand the area of the text with the two little arrows on the top and bottom of the text box. In order to move around (presumably so that you can select more text) you lift your finger, then drag the screen as you would normally. After you've moved (closer to) where you need to be, drag the little arrow again. You can also zoom while you're selecting text.

Re:Just don't let a good thing die! (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996584)

Yes, but Android 2.3 has a much better solution for that. (Android 2.2 sucked in pretty similar ways.)

Cursor keys would have been another option, but I find that this works pretty nicely for me.

Re:Just don't let a good thing die! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991788)

I keep hearing how great WebOS is. I don't get it. I have a Pre. It's a work phone. A work phone as in, I work for HP, so I have to have a Pre. Trust me, I would never buy one out of my own pocket.

I certainly do not find WebOS "intuitive". What's with all this swiping the screen to make a "deck"? Why the hell do I have to swipe the deck off of the top of the screen to close it? How, in all that is holy, is that "intuitive"? Why can I never find the fucking settings the one time I need it every month or so? Why does it keep buzzing at me every couple of hours to inform me, like a retarded puppy, that yet again "[A] Captive portal detected", even though it's the exact same WiFi mesh it detected two hours ago and I didn't join it then?

WebOS might be a great environment to develop for, and I get the whole "It's real Linux so it's automatically better than Android" fanboyism, but can we please all put down the rose tinted glasses and step away from the bong? The WebOS user experience ain't all that.

Still, the magnetic inductive charger is fun.

Re:Just don't let a good thing die! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991866)

Why the hell do I have to swipe the deck off of the top of the screen to close it? How, in all that is holy, is that "intuitive"?

I'm always careful of using the word intuitive about any UI, but it seemed natural to me. I didn't read any documentation about WebOS before using it, and flicking a card away from the top of the deck to get rid of it seemed like the obvious way of getting rid of it.

Re:Just don't let a good thing die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37999024)

I certainly do not find WebOS "intuitive". What's with all this swiping the screen to make a "deck"? Why the hell do I have to swipe the deck off of the top of the screen to close it?

I couldn't figure that out either. Once someone shows you how to do it though, it's awesome.

How, in all that is holy, is that "intuitive"? Why can I never find the fucking settings the one time I need it every month or so?

Can't help you on that one. Maybe you're just stupid.

Will it matter? (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991322)

At this point, exactly how many developers or software engineers does HP have left in its WebOS department? Probably not many. If they sell it now, it'll basically be just a pile of source code, not an intact team that's experienced with it and can do something with it. This is something these stupid corporations never seem to understand: that the real value is not just in some product, but having an engineering team behind it that has years of experience developing it, and knows how to use it and modify it for customer needs. It's not easy putting together a competent team from scratch, and even if you do manage to get good people, it takes a long time for them to come up to speed, especially if there's no other experts around they can talk to.

Re:Will it matter? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991884)

They fired the hardware team, the WebOS team is still there.

Re:Will it matter? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992142)

Are they? Are you sure? I have a hard time believing none of them have left for better jobs after hearing their project was being shitcanned. You seem to be assuming that employment is a one-sided affair, and that employees can only leave a job if the company lays them off.

Re:Will it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37993250)

I'd be questioning anyone who was still working on that team, and not actively looking for another job. Why are you sitting there wasting time on a product that will never be released, knowing you're bound to be laid off at any moment when HP finally puts the nail in WebOS's coffin.

Re:Will it matter? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37993338)

Exactly my thoughts. Anyone who buys that team will be left with the lesser performers, the ones who weren't able to quickly jump ship to someplace better. The top people will all have taken off.

Time for a change (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991428)

The current HP CEO has been in her job for weeks. It'd make more sense to wait and see what the next one thinks.

Re:Time for a change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37992470)

I'm surprised the company has lasted this long. That lady will crash HP in to a flaming shitpile if she's allowed to work her "job creator" magic for too long.

HP as we know it is doomed. Remember this post when sometime Q3 next year HP will:

1. Sell off, or spin off it's divisions that make viable products to other companies. Expect to see Lenovo LaserJets, Acer Proliants.
2. Sale of patent holdings, trademarks, business services other crap to another entity. Probably IBM.
3. The final death of the Itanium platform.

Taking advice from wolves (4, Insightful)

CHK6 (583097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991486)

So Bank of America Merrill Lynch advises HP to sell off WebOS. First off when is a bank a place to ask about the futures of computing? Technology innovation is based on having a vision and setting forth to achieve such goals. So instead of HP gathering rank and file from within HP asking, what plans or vision is there still within HP for WebOS, HP goes down the street to what is basically Lucy from Charlie Brown comics and asks for advice from a bank. Well gee, what would a bank tell you? Stick with it and build a solid infrastructure and growth channels around WebOS or to liquidate it in an auction and have the immediate cash in hand. That's asking a wolf advice on how to protect the chicken coup.

The HP board are not visionaries, technologist, or engineers. These are the wealthy dumb butts that corporate obesity produces. I'm actually ashamed of HP.

mod up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37992086)

Thank you... exactly what I wanted to write.

You left out the part where merill lynch will earn a % for handling the merger. It's like asking a car salesman if he thinks I should keep my current car or buy a new car from his lot.

It's a little funny asking Merrill Lynch -- a company that failed and was forced to sell to BoA -- for financial advice.

Effort to crash & burn Palm from the beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37996506)

It might look like conspiracy theory but this is what I'm thinking now. HP shareholders (and "financial advisors") also hold shares of Apple, Microsoft and God knows who else. Maybe they demanded WebOS to be burned regardless of costs ? Keeping Apple Wonder Bubble (TM) afloat is much more profitable after all. Keeping a bunch of artificially created monopolies instead of highly competitive market with lower margins is much more profitable for that 1% that owns 35% of whole economy. They can demand from corporation A to crash & burn something in order to boost profits for corporation B, they-re also invested in.

Re:Taking advice from wolves (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996598)

> The HP board are not visionaries, technologist, or engineers.

Well, HP had an engineer as a CEO. And although he made far fewer mistakes than the CEO before him, he didn't really do all that well either.

Re:Taking advice from wolves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997304)

Agreed fully. If finance is the source of innovation then HP are doomed, and by extension, so are Bank of America & Merrill Lynch.

Re:Taking advice from wolves (1)

Tim12s (209786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997334)

Now what HP should be doing is taking their Web-OS tablet and ensure that their full range of corporate applications are streamlined to work on the WebOS. In actual fact, i'd take that WebOS tablet and streamline it in almost every manner specifically to be the preferred enterprise application tablet as opposed to a consumer tablet.

Exactly what the above means.... corporate remote manageability, good development environment, fantastic barcode and scanner device integration, extra durable, extended battery life, great out of the box adapters for their corporate applications, etc.

With their focus on HTML5 apps we have started entering into the trusted computing phase of life.

I already trust my iPad more for online banking than my Windows 7 PC. Why - its obvious, the ipad doesnt have viruses and can therefore be considered secure.

Trusted computing has soo many advantages to society yet in the hands of the wolves it has many disadvantages too.

-Tim

Re:Taking advice from wolves (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 2 years ago | (#38002010)

I believe the bank and/or Merrill Lynch also stand to reap a commission ($ millions) if HP actually does execute a sale of WebOS. I know, it's insane, but NYT ran a recent story that several HP acquisitions were completed under advice from teams like this that also participated in the sale/transfer and got huge commissions for that turnover.
Another argument against the efficiency of private business.

expensive foray (2)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991634)

"its investment in Palm, viewed by many analysts and investors as an expensive foray into the smartphone market that has not paid off"

Well sure, buying a company for its smartphone and then never actually releasing a phone with those assets is an expensive foray with little payout. Maybe if they'd actually put out a product before the Pre enthusiasts drifted off to other platforms, they'd have done better. I was very disappointed when I had to give up my Pre because I realized the Pre 3 was nowhere on the horizon.

Shit or get off the pot (1)

wfs2mail.com (794623) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991694)

This is starting to get old - hp is doing this, now they're not, then again, but wait, but no.

C'mon, make a decision!

Re:Shit or get off the pot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37993636)

Maybe HP is just constipated?

linux == fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991738)

And Linux fails once again!

*headdesk* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37991770)

Somewhere, there's a rule that the further up the corporate ladder you climb, the bigger of a nimrod you have to be.

Morons (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991820)

Seriously, did they really think Palm wasn't going to fail? What on earth were they thinking? Has Palm ever done an OS correctly? EVER? Lets see, their competitors were Apple, which has been lauded as the most user friendly in every type of OS they've ever produced... Google, who doesn't seem to be able to write anything that geeks don't love... and Microsoft... ok, maybe they could steal all 25 of Microsoft's mobile customers. Good Business decision HP... oh wait, I forgot, HP makes all their money off of printer ink.

Re:Morons (3, Informative)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992702)

Seriously, did they really think Palm wasn't going to fail? What on earth were they thinking? Has Palm ever done an OS correctly? EVER? Lets see, their competitors were Apple, which has been lauded as the most user friendly in every type of OS they've ever produced... Google, who doesn't seem to be able to write anything that geeks don't love... and Microsoft... ok, maybe they could steal all 25 of Microsoft's mobile customers. Good Business decision HP... oh wait, I forgot, HP makes all their money off of printer ink.

Let's see, when Palm was first starting out, their competition was Apple in the form of the Apple Newton... I remember how the Newton flew off the shelves... oh wait... no they didn't... Palm PDAs were flying off the shelves. In fact, Palm's OS was put into a smartphone an entire DECADE before Apple got into the market. Then came Windows CE, which actually was competition for Palm. The original developers for Palm split off into their own company called Handspring, which produced the Treo (which first ran Palm's OS). Palm acquired Handspring, and for some strange reason, switched the Treo to run Windows Mobile. ALL of this happened before Apple and Google entered the smartphone market.

Re:Morons (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37994958)

Let's see, when Palm was first starting out, their competition was Apple in the form of the Apple Newton... I remember how the Newton flew off the shelves... oh wait... no they didn't... Palm PDAs were flying off the shelves.

Hmm, I always felt like Palm's first OS was just MacOS (pre-OSX) rebranded into a portable format. Everything from the fonts to the icons to the dialog boxes looked the same. I mean, you couldn't move the icons or resize the windows, but that was about it. It even felt like MacOS at the API level.

Palm's had two primary innovations, and then they surfed on momentum until they inevitably died. The first was Graffiti, which they dumped with the Treo. The second was the Treo itself, which 'innovated' by having a built-in phone.

Palm's problem is that they failed to innovate beyond this point, which made them vulnerable even to a POS like WinCE. Their fate was set by that time. The actual doom came from the iPhone OS, but they were done by that point.

Had they come up with the ideas for WebOS in 2005, everything might have been ok. But fundamentally, WebOS was mostly innovated off of the iPhone, which hadn't been invented yet, so I can't see how it could have happened even if they /had/ it together. Most likely they would have just put out a WinCE-clone and then subsequently gotten crushed by the iPhone.

Re:Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997246)

Err, actually WebOS was around in 2007 or 2008, it just wasn't officially on a device until 2009. Palm was set up to kick Microsoft's ass and got blindsided by Apple.

It's kind of sad, really. WebOS wasn't ripping off anyone else's ideas. And it was pretty damn close to Linux. Moreso than Android is today.

Re:Morons (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38000980)

Err, actually WebOS was around in 2007 or 2008, it just wasn't officially on a device until 2009.

Who knows. Android was around in 2007 as well, but it looked nothing like the Android we know today. Had it shipped in that state, it would have failed catastrophically.

Maybe WebOS was all brushed up and ready to go, but it's telling that they couldn't push a device for nearly two years after the iPhone. That's half a device lifecycle.

Re:Morons (2)

dhalsim2 (626618) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992742)

webOS is actually an excellent operating system. I was a huge Android fan until I got my TouchPad. I bought it with the intention of scrubbing webOS and throwing on Android as soon as a port was available. After using it for a while, I realized how good webOS is and that moving to Android would be a downgrade. The only major problem with webOS is the lack of apps.

IBM? Huh? (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37991920)

IBM is emphatically NOT an end-user-focused company. They explicitly fled away from that market years ago. What on earth would they do with WebOS that couldn't be done easier and cheaper with some other OS?

Re:IBM? Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37992232)

IBM will buy it for sure. After rebrand, it will be called... wait for it... WebOS/2!

Re:IBM? Huh? (1)

John Bayko (632961) | more than 2 years ago | (#37992440)

IBM generally sells business solutions and technology - the latter sometimes as patent licenses, sometimes developing products and selling them off. For example, the popular "swiping" method of keyboard entry on smartphones came from ""ShapeWriter" (previously SHARK), an IBM product they sold to another company to commercialise.

I'm sure there are a lot of assets in WebOS that could be developed. For example, what if you go a step beyond Apple's Siri, and integrate a smartphone interface with the deep AI of IBM's Watson Jeopardy champion (currently being commercialised for optimising medical treatment in the health insurance industry)? Sell or license that product to application developers for everything from intelligent tourist guides to on site first aid agents, who sell their wares on Android, iTunes, Blackberry or Microsoft app stores.

Lots of possibilities for a firm with cutting edge research and development. Like HP used to be, once.

Re:IBM? Huh? or anyone? (1)

ddxexex (1664191) | more than 2 years ago | (#37993050)

In the same vein why would RIM want WebOS when they already have QNX? Or Amazon with the Kindle's OS / Android already developed.
Oracle doesn't have much to do with tablets and already have Solaris. And I don't see why Intel would want an OS and if they did being designed for a tablet using their competitor's Quallcomm uprocessors on it, might not especially help.

Really, if this is the list of potential buyers... they probably don't have a good chance for selling it. Sorry guys, but hopefully you've updated your resumes recently...

For the Patent (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997238)

IBM might be in for the patent.
On the other hand, as they are more open-source friendly, and don't really need a phone/tablet GUI right now, maybe they'll open-source the closed source part of the code.

Heck, if I had the money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37992706)

I'd buy it in a second. WebOS is, by far, the single best mobile OS around right now. It is more advanced than either Android or iOS and has all kinds of promise if it is backed by a company that isn't just dabbling in it. It's a travesty that so far it has had the bad luck of being offered by a company on it's way out (Palm) and then a company that seemed to see it as a funny oddity (HP).

Why not develop it further? (1)

EmotionToilet (1083453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37993020)

I've always thought that WebOS was great, it just needs a little fine tuning and a little ecosystem of services to support it. Why not bring in a few really talented, creative people who can refine the user experience and help develop the platform a bit, then get it in the hands of people at a fair price point. It's really one of the better operating systems out there, and the fact that they have it and don't know what to do with it implies terrible things for HP.

Palm patents too?, without which webOS is useless (0)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 2 years ago | (#37994778)

If some random company buys webOS *without* Palm's IP/patents, they would be sued the second they actually used it in a product. These days, if you don't have a decent patent warchest, it doesn't matter how good your product or software is... webOS is a useless asset without the patents, either Palm's or already owning a similar rich set already.

For those that realize this, the list of possible buyers now becomes much, much smaller...

Re:Palm patents too?, without which webOS is usele (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997082)

haven't palm diluted them by already selling an os out twice?

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what's good about WebOS? (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997040)

The people who have actually used it, myself included find the UI very good indeed.

Nobody is suing about it.

For a tablet/smartphone manufacturer, having a superior UI backed with lawsuit-proof code is the way out of the legal clusterfuck involving Apple, Google, and even Micro$oft . . . which appear to have collectively concluded that since they can't compete on superior technology, that their road to future growth is to sue its competing OSs out of existence.

Personally, I hope Apple and Google and Microsoft succeed in blowing each other out of the mobile market.

Pathetic (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997936)

An all-hands-on-deck meeting just to hear Meg Whitman recite her version of Hamlet's soliliquiy? Leo Apotheker must be cackling loudly while counting his golden parachute lucre.

However, this sordid affair does prove there is no afterlife, as evidenced by the fact neither Hewlett nor Packard have come back to strangle everyone at HP HQ that's wearing a suit.

Who would buy? and why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37999928)

Looking to the future: Is there a company? an application? a technical requirement? etc. that uniquely requires WebOS? The only value would be patents. Why would HPQ sell those asset?

Sell it to RIM? (1)

monzie (729782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38002914)

I would ideally want WebOS to go open source. It seems that's not going to happen. What about selling it to RIM? They have decent hardware ( the PlayBook comes to mind) - with webOS they'll have decent software as well. They should stop spending time on the Android emulator. ( As BB tablet owner how would you feel running ( sometimes crappy ) Android software on an emulator? ) Their current generation of phones are (theoretically ) capable of running WebOS as is the Playbook. Dear RIM, please pay and buy WebOS. You are not paying for a good OS. You're paying to have a future in the market.

What do you expect ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017854)

Ah, HP...the company where great products go to die.

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