John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

HP Not Emulating Apple, Though It Really Should

As Palm slipped deeper into the downward spiral that would ultimately claim its independence, the company considered licensing its webOS operating system as a means of bolstering its lagging finances. It never did, though some argued that it could have been the company’s salvation. And it’s not going to happen now or ever, according to Todd Bradley, executive VP of Hewlett-Packard’s Personal Systems Group, who says the company has no plans to license the webOS IP it acquired as part of its $1.2 billion purchase of Palm.

A wise move, I think. It’s hard to see why anyone would pay to license webOS, around which development has been stagnant since the HP acquisition, when they could simply use Google’s (GOOG) Android OS, which is not only free, but offers a burgeoning developer ecosystem to boot.

Better to keep webOS unique to HP and offer it across multiple devices, as Apple has done with iOS. And while Bradley insists “emulating Apple is not part of our strategy,” the company would be wise to pay attention to its focus on excellence in user experience. Because if it nails that and then “doubles down” on webOS as promised, we could see some very interesting things coming out of HP in the months ahead. As I wrote earlier this year:

“In Palm’s webOS, HP has an elegant OS that it controls, something the company–a longtime Windows shop–has never had before. And with it, it can begin untethering itself from Microsoft and differentiate its brand in a market in which most devices not sold by Apple are all running some variant of Windows. Remember, webOS is scalable. And while Palm lacked the means to scale it, HP does not. It’s one of the biggest tech companies in the world, and once it brings its engineering acumen and marketing heft to bear on the OS, my guess is we’ll see it evolve into a much larger platform that extends beyond smartphones to tablets, ultraportables and other connected devices. And HP, for the first time in its history in a long time, will be firmly in control of both its hardware and software.”

[Image credit: Willowhaven / Insanely Mac]


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