HP wants an OS to call their own

[HP bought Palm] For a number of very good reasons… but one above all: H-P wants its own operating system. And by acquiring Palm that’s exactly what it’s getting. The steady refrain during my conversation with HP execs this afternoon, “We’re very excited about webOS … We see great potential in webOS … We’re going to double down on webOS.”

HP spent this decade racing Dell to the bottom on pricing and squeezing margins. They “won”, but at a cost of not making anything like the quality hardware they used to. This is what comes from everyone using the same OS, so you can only differentiate on price. Now mobile platforms are the new frontier, yet there’s HP’s upcoming slate, running an “optimized” Windows 7, like everyone else. And, like everyone else, it will fail.

I really think HP wanted a differentiator in the mobile space more than anything else. Android isn’t it, that’s what everyone else will run to, so they’ll have to differentiate on price. It’s déjà vu, and HP wants no part of that.

I like the idea, applaud HP’s effort, and wish them luck. Whether they can pull it of remains to be seen. They’ll need to adopt webOS for a tablet ASAP. I don’t think they can make holiday season this year, next Spring seems more realistic. A year is a long time in this business, but when you’ve got nothing…

Meanwhile, Microsoft can’t be happy. They want their desktop-OS-shoehorned-with-a-few-touch-features on everyone’s tablet and slate devices. HP clearly doesn’t want to play that game. Not on mobile devices anyway. Make no mistake, this purchase hurts Microsoft. Windows 7 is no good for tablets, and Windows Phone 7 is just too far off. Once WP7 is available, why would HP use it? They have their own OS now, and I think that was their plan all along.

4 thoughts on “HP wants an OS to call their own

  1. Android’s momentum is overstated. A WebOS slate will be fine with developers without flash. It will never get to near Apple levels, but it certainly could take on Android.

  2. Let’s assume HP makes a good tablet device with webOS and gets it out, say, next March. That’s reasonably aggressive. So what’s next? Well, it won’t mean diddly without developers. That’s going to be very hard. iPhone has a zillion, and Android is gaining momentum rapidly. I expect HP may nuzzle up to Adobe and see if Flash will be a way to go here. Get all those Android apps to run on webOS, too.

  3. HP has had a skunk work OS for some time now based on Android. Now, however, with WebOS they can have an OS to truly call their own. They wanted to be like Apple, now WebOS takes them a little bit closer, but personally I still think they need a lot more than just WebOS, so I expect them to invest a lot more into it.

  4. I like that HP is starting to break the shackles of Microsoft, at least in mobile devices. A WebOS slate may be a good competitor for the iPad. Palm wrote a good OS, but made crappy hardware. HP is capable of making good hardware. I look forward to what comes out of this.

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