09 November 2011

A Quick Analysis On Those Apparently Interested In Buying WebOS From HP

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Reuters got a report earlier this week about HP mulling over the chance of selling WebOS. Sale, HP thinks could go for "hundreds of millions of dollars". And there is a unconfirmed list of those possibly interested in acquiring WebOS that is quite interesting on its own right

Exclusive- HP weighing sale of webOS unit  at Reuters

It cannot be known what kind of terms HP would want to sell WebOS if it is indeed true that they want to sell and that they will sell it. But what i can tell you, is some of the reasons why each of the names in the unconfirmed list of those wanting to buy WebOS, would indeed want to buy it.

Who are in that list of WebOS interested parties?

Amazon, IBM, Oracle, RIM and Intel.

Now lets look at why they could be possibly interested in WebOS:

Amazon

Bezos could want WebOS as a bet on the future of the Kindle Line and as a way of having their own software base they can be fully in control and that could easily replace the modded Android 2.1 base they are apparently using in the Kindle Fire. And since Amazon got their own App Store separated and isolated from not just Android Market, but all Android App usage conventions. It would not matter or even be noticeable to most of Amazon users if they changed their Amazon OS from one being based in a modded Android 2.1, to one based on WebOS 3.0.

As a plus, they are also would be safe from any Android legal fees or IP problems.

IBM

The most mystifying name of the list is definitely IBM. What could they possibly want with WebOS is unclear. But it is possible that they would want to have it for its IP Value if it comes with some good patents or access to the palm patent treasure chest in HP's power. Or they could be using it as Console OS for their enterprise offerings. With the first reason being a lot more likely than this later one.

Oracle

Most interesting name in the list. Because of HP hurdles with Oracle. Many speculate about WebOS being a possible way to repair the HP-Oracle relations via Meg Withman, by allowing Oracle to have a good option to buy it.

Doing so would also represent two possible big gains for Oracle:

1.- They gain more valuable IP and Patents

Which they can use to secure a even bigger win against Google. Than the one they are going to get. As there is a very slim chance of Oracle losing against Google in course. But getting a hold of WebOS IP and Patents could be a boost for the negotiations when they win.

2.- Orale Solaris gets a WebOS remake.

Can you imagine what Solaris could gain from WebOS or vice versa? I can. And the idea of it is quite enticing. As it would make it not just an OK enterprise OS. But an excellent enterprise OS that Oracle could then be able to use in anything they wanted.

I think that Oracle owning WebOS is actually the scenario that got the potential to have some of the most interesting repercussions if it happened.

Intel

Most obvious name on the list. At least in regards of why would they want it.

Intel at one point had Moblin. It was looking up OK. But then WebOS appeared, and it made Moblin look like crap in comparison. And no longer exciting.

Then other problems like the latest Maemo looking up fine and LiMo trying to play their own righteous game didn't helped either. Later on, Intel convinced Nokia of merging Moblin with Maemo in what would be known as MeeGo.

Exciting, until Nokia realized that MeeGo would never ever be able to put up a fight against the big Smartphone OSes. At the time they decided to go with Windows Phone. And Nokia pretty much said Intel:

"I might be still using MeeGO here and there, experimenting with it. But i think i will do it on my own. You can still do whatever you want though"

Which Intel took as a clear message of having to reinvent their bet for an OS, yet again. This time by convincing the LiMo Foundation to pair up with them. Adding up to MeeGo whatever input they had. And with that, Tizen was born.

Generating yet another reboot for Intel efforts. One that is not likely to become anything interesting or useful until the second half of 2012, if all goes well. With slim chances of being anything more than that. Just another interesting OS from Intel very few will use.

Intel owning WebOS could fix their struggles once and for all. They would then just could grab WebOS 3.0 and work on the 4.0 version by adding whatever makes sense from MeeGo and LiMo to it. An idea that could do actually turn into a very powerful and versatile OS. Without having to stop offering the current WebOS 3.0 and also instantly gaining a better ecosystem, with a good IP and Patents to go with it.

RIM

When HP went through their recent Apothekalypse. The company that won the most of it was RIM. As it gave them a breather of relief by no longer having to worry about a competitor they had been accused of copying because of the Playbook OS. And because it was the competitor that was offering the most similar products to them and the one with the most similar strategy.

Not that it has served them much given how slow their whole strategy has been. Even considering how they are getting a beat up by Wall Street, Analyst and the U.S.A press and blogosphere on a daily basis.

RIM owning WebOS would make all the sense in the world. As they were the one company that must had own it already. If it had not been because somehow they failed to acquire Palm when they could and should have done sot. A mistake that has cost them dearly.

RIM owning WebOS could be seen by the Management as correcting a mistake, saving face, strengthening IP and Patents and solidifying their bet for the future.

Since with WebOS, they now could offer all kind of new products beyond the ones they offer by having a even bigger and better platform to build on. Making sure that no matter what, RIM gets to be in the mobile device business for the foreseeable future. Or at least, that would be the idea.

Conclusions

If HP decides to sell and boy if they should do sell, as there is no way to save WebOS for them after they have tainted it so bad. The repercussions to that could be quite interesting no matter who gets it. As long as it is not IBM. That scenario don't points to anything but boring.

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