Sunday, August 21, 2011

Top HP Execs Were Not Told of Move To Kill Web OS Hardware; What Now For Former Palm Guys

According to All Things Digital (via Gizmodo), Todd Bradley, head of personal systems group at HP and Jon Rubinstein of Palm were not informed of HP's decision to gut Web OS until the Sunfay before HP made its announcement to that effect and looking at options to spin off the PC arm of the company, which has been seen as a drag on the company as a whole.

ATD's post gave a good examination of what questions remain and what options are there foe the men who were tasked to lead the assault on the mobile market on HP's behalf.

This is important as it could determine the fate of Web OS and who will end up owning it and the patents HP now possesses through last year's $1.2 billion Palm buyout.

HP will have to determine if it'll get more out of Web OS if it leverages the OS and the mobile patents as a separate entity either through a licensing agreement or a Nortel like auction that may or may not include the talents that created them.

Or it could bundle Web OS as a part of a new company should it decide to spin off a PC company. It would certainly sweeten the pot for investors or potential buyers.

However, such a buyer would have to be someone who wants to get into both the PC market and own its OS instead of licensing one from Google or Microsoft.

What HP wants will determine what happens to Web OS and the patents and who gets it.

At this time, I am certain many companies have approached HP to get a feeler for what HP is leaning. Samsung has been a popular choice on the blogs for acquiring Web OS and the patents even though it already has its own OS, Bada.

I think Lenovo is a strong candidate. It was Lenovo that bought IBM's PC business and this think outside of the box attitude could also make them a prime candidate. Plus, if they should be interested, they may well also be interested in HP's PC business as well. There might be some huffing and puffing in Congress about a Chinese company owning suh a big PC share but I am sure Lenovo's lobbyists and attorneys will take care of that once the initial outcry dies down.

Then there is Apple. No one has said much about this but don't discount Apple as the company that might walk away with Web OS.

What no one has addressed is what'll happen to the small but dedicated legion of Web OS users. A couple of Palm friendly blogs, like parents late at night at the dinner table worrying about bills, have tried to keep up an optimistic front. But even they may go the way of the Web OS unless miraculous event happens and Web OS finds a happy home.

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