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Rumor: Amazon eyeing purchase of HP's Palm division for webOS Kindles

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
Amazon is said to be considering a purchase of Palm, the smartphone maker now owned by Hewlett-Packard, and its webOS mobile operating system.

If such a deal were to become a reality, it would allow Amazon to make future Kindle hardware based on its own software in webOS, rather than modifying Google's Android platform as it has done with the Kindle Fire, according to VentureBeat. The new color touchscreen Kindle Fire will go on sale this November for $199.

The Kindle Fire runs Google Android, but the software has been heavily redesigned and rethought, leaving very little resemblance to the original Android 2.3 upon which it is built. In fact, on the official page for the Kindle Fire, there's only one reference to Android, mentioning applications available through the Amazon Appstore.

Friday's report noted that former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, who left his position as Apple's iPod chief in 2005, joined Amazon's board of directors in late 2010. It cited a "well-placed source" as indicating that HP is looking to shed its Palm division as soon as possible, naming Amazon as the closest to purchase among a handful of prospective buyers.

"By purchasing the remnants of Palm, Amazon would have free rein to redesign webOS to its own liking, and it would be able to further differentiate its Kindle devices from the slew of Android tablets in the market," author Devindra Hardawar wrote.

HP bought Palm in April 2010 for $1.2 billion, promising future smartphones and tablets powered by Palm's webOS. But HP's first high-profile webOS product, the TouchPad tablet, failed to gain traction in the market against Apple's iPad, and was discontinued with inventory cleared out in a $99 fire sale.



HP's discontinuation of the TouchPad was part of a corporate shakeup in which the world's largest PC maker revealed it plans to spin off its PC business to focus on selling software. Those changes proved to be a last gasp for ex-CEO Leo Apotheker, who spent less than a year on the job before he was replaced last week by former eBay chief Meg Whitman.

Though Amazon is now said to be in talks to acquire webOS from HP, smartphone maker Samsung was previously named as another company interested in buying the mobile operating system. Later, HTC was also said to be another potential buyer, as Android-based smartphone makers look to differentiate their products from other competing Android devices.
post #2 of 63
Now that would have some potential! WebOS is certainly superior to Android (hell my cats litterbox is a better experience and smells less) and Amazon has the content to push. This would make a serious tablet contender. I think the Fire already has some potential, but this would be something altogether different.

If true, I wonder if they plan an upgrade path for the Fire. If not they must think they can make the UI and overall experience nearly identical, or they risk a great deal of product fragmentation.

<edit>Forgot to mention, for all the talk of how superior Android is as a platform from the fandroids, sure sounds like all the companies currently using it are looking to leave for any pretty face. Must be a great platform...
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post #3 of 63
Nah, they already have free reign because they forked android. Now they can do whatever, and besides they have invested too much into the mod to switch. Maybe they buy the IP, if any is left to develop some features more quickly, but webOS is dead and everyone, including HP needs to accept that.
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post #4 of 63
buy them for the patents? most palm employees have been laid off and it's cheaper to just hire them
post #5 of 63
And then Oracle buys what's left of HP after that.
Larry wants to fire a bunch of execs there.
post #6 of 63
Amazon is already making waves in the tablet market (OOPS! There is no tablet market, there is only an iPad market, so Amazon is making waves in the iPad market).

But what confuses me is that I thought all 7 inch Ipads (remember, there is no tablet market; there is only an iPad market) would be Dead on Arrival, unless the manufacturer also included sandpaper to turn the users fingertips into a bloody pulp.

We'll see who is correct. Time will tell.

And not covered by AI, Lenovo is going to release a 7 inch Tweener for $200. It will have more features than the DOA Amazon 7 inch iPad. It too will be DOA if Lenovo fails to include sandpaper.

Why do all these companies think that they can sell a Tweener without including sandpaper? Crazy.

</sarcasm>

Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post

Now that would have some potential!

Agreed. It seems like a good match.

The tablet market seems to finally be catching fire (pun fully intended). This is good for all consumers. Apple proved that there is a viable category here, and other companies seem to be taking the ball and running with it.

What will be interesting is whether Apple can retain the dominant position like it did in the media player market, or whether it will be relegated to a large niche status, like in the smartphone market.
post #7 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Maybe they buy the IP, if any is left to develop some features more quickly, but webOS is dead and everyone, including HP needs to accept that.

Didn't Michael Dell say something way back similar about Apple's OS?
post #8 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Nah, they already have free reign because they forked android. Now they can do whatever, and besides they have invested too much into the mod to switch. Maybe they buy the IP, if any is left to develop some features more quickly, but webOS is dead and everyone, including HP needs to accept that.

I am no patent lawyer, but how much did Microsoft just make from companies paying to use Android? Does forking protect you from that? Wouldn't the fork have to remove all the stuff they filed suit for in the first place and even then still be open to possible litigation?

Yeah, no reason at all to look for an alternative OS if you are a phone maker...
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post #9 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Agreed. It seems like a good match.

Amazon is already making waves in the tablet market (OOPS! There is no tablet market, there is only an iPad market, so Amazon is making waves in the iPad market).

But what confuses me is that I thought all 7 inch Ipads (remember, there is no tablet market; there is only an iPad market) would be Dead on Arrival, unless the manufacturer also included sandpaper to turn the users fingertips into a bloody pulp.

I have to admit, reading your other posts, the fact that you agree with me is the strongest indication i can imagine that i am dead wrong...
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post #10 of 63
If Android was clear and "free" and without uncertainty, I would say it would not make sense. But, as Oracle, MS and Apple (indirectly) continue with their assault on Android, It sounds like Amazon, with it's heavy profitable content operation has what it takes to take Web OS where HP couldn't.
If Android did not have any of the baggage, I would just say why bother? Just take Android from underneath Google and run with it, but that is not the case.
post #11 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post

I am no patent lawyer, but how much did Microsoft just make from companies paying to use Android? Does forking protect you from that? Wouldn't the fork have to remove all the stuff they filed suit for in the first place and even then still be open to possible litigation?

Yeah, no reason at all to look for an alternative OS if you are a phone maker...

which patents is MS suing for? kindle fire is wifi only so 3g patents aren't an issue

and amazon isn't licensing any of the google apps and making headaches for google which is probably good for MS
post #12 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

which patents is MS suing for? kindle fire is wifi only so 3g patents aren't an issue

and amazon isn't licensing any of the google apps and making headaches for google which is probably good for MS

I have no idea if the MS issues are 3g only. I simply recall that:

"Microsoft Corp. will rake in $444 million in revenue in 2012 from its patent-licensing agreements with Android device makers, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.

Seems like using Android is just a way to pay a lot for a free OS that you then have to work to differentiate anyway. If I were Amazon, I would want my own OS. I am not though, just a simple minded philosopher...
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post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post

I have to admit, reading your other posts, the fact that you agree with me is the strongest indication i can imagine that i am dead wrong...

Welcome to the club!
post #14 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

Didn't Michael Dell say something way back similar about Apple's OS?

no comparison! ha! But funny anyway
post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

which patents is MS suing for? kindle fire is wifi only so 3g patents aren't an issue

and amazon isn't licensing any of the google apps and making headaches for google which is probably good for MS

I think it's safe to assume that MS isn't suing any Android makers just for 3G patents, they are likely all software related. MS has been exacting royalties from Android phone makers for a while now, so it's also safe to assume that Android 2.x has IP issues. While Amazon may be creating issues for GOOG, the bottom line is that Amazon is now a competitor to MS and if the Fire sells in any qty then you can be sure that the MS lawyers will be knocking on the door.
post #16 of 63
To avoid serious IP issues and costs, moving from Android to WeBOS is smart. I suspect, Amazon designed their implementation to easily change the underlying OS as Android market falls into chaos with MS, Oracle, and Apple lawsuits, not the mention a marching Army of trolls all set to pile on.
post #17 of 63
No, he didn't.

When asked by a reporter what he'd do with Apple considering it's sorry shape at the time, he quipped he'd close it and give the money back to shareholders.

Dell actually said it would consider licensing OSX.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

Didn't Michael Dell say something way back similar about Apple's OS?
post #18 of 63
Hmm let's see: Amazon makes a huge splash with this supercharged Kindle, everybody calls it the next iPad killer, all the Fanazons claim it's nothing like an iPad yet continue to get butt hurt when shown it doesn't really compare and now Amazon says they are looking at WeOS?!? Really?!?

I think we're seeing the first chink in Amazons armor. Not happy with Android? But you just spent x amount of dollars on a forked Android system. Why are you going to make a big deal and then say you want to do something different?

Focus guys. Focus on one thing and get it right. You want to copy Apple? That would be the best place to start.

Besides., they should have made this offer when Leo was in charge. Meg might have different ideas.
post #19 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post

Now that would have some potential! WebOS is certainly superior to Android (hell my cats litterbox is a better experience and smells less) and Amazon has the content to push. This would make a serious tablet contender. I think the Fire already has some potential, but this would be something altogether different.

If true, I wonder if they plan an upgrade path for the Fire. If not they must think they can make the UI and overall experience nearly identical, or they risk a great deal of product fragmentation.

<edit>Forgot to mention, for all the talk of how superior Android is as a platform from the fandroids, sure sounds like all the companies currently using it are looking to leave for any pretty face. Must be a great platform...

Shocking to find such an Apple drone flaming Android. Have you even used an Android device that was made in the last couple years? I like WebOS conceptually, but to call it "certainly superior" to Android is ridiculous. On the same hardware Android runs buttery smooth while WebOS jutters and trips over itself just trying to manage a handful of running apps.

What stinks worse than a litter box is your attitude.

In regard to the article itself, seems silly for Amazon to throw out their entire android store in favor of a new OS which they will have to purchase (for a lofty sum) which has a (relatively) awful marketplace. Maybe they should just buy WebOS for the design then fork or skin Android with a similar UI. At the very least write a Dalvik interpreter that will allow them to continue to sell through the Android marketplace
post #20 of 63
Not sure I see the point in switching their tablet(s) to WebOS, but I guess if any company can revive WebOS its Amazon...Amazon smartphones, now that would be interesting.
post #21 of 63
This is actually a fascinating rumor. Think about it. Amazon ends up controlling webOS and develops proper tablets, not a purchase portal disguised as an e-book reader. This could make the next chapter in the tablet war very interesting.

And, to whomever said that webOS is dead: no, it's the HP TouchPad that's dead. HP simply did not imbue webOS with enough horsepower to make the TouchPad a real contender.
post #22 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Welcome to the club!

You have a special club of people who are wrong because they agree with you?

Does the club handshake involve russian roulette?
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post #23 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

Not sure I see the point in switching their tablet(s) to WebOS, but I guess if any company can revive WebOS its Amazon...Amazon smartphones, now that would be interesting.

Less bullshit, for one reason. Who knows where and when these patent battles will end. Bezos might just want to stay clear of that mess if he can get WebOS for the right price. He's already got the man on board needed to consult him.
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post #24 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Amazon is already making waves in the tablet market (OOPS! There is no tablet market, there is only an iPad market, so Amazon is making waves in the iPad market).

It's new... Every "new" tablet made waves when the were introduced. They were all going to be device that unseats the iPad... we saw where that went.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

But what confuses me is that I thought all 7 inch Ipads (remember, there is no tablet market; there is only an iPad market) would be Dead on Arrival, unless the manufacturer also included sandpaper to turn the users fingertips into a bloody pulp.

We'll see who is correct. Time will tell.

Steve Jobs was referring to tablet class apps, not oversized devices running a smartphone class UI.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

The tablet market seems to finally be catching fire (pun fully intended). This is good for all consumers. Apple proved that there is a viable category here, and other companies seem to be taking the ball and running with it.

What will be interesting is whether Apple can retain the dominant position like it did in the media player market, or whether it will be relegated to a large niche status, like in the smartphone market.

Tablet market catching fire!? Last I heard all other tablet OEMs have cut back production and even dropped out (HP, Toshiba) of the market. Apple has not dropped or passed the ball to another company.

A large niche status!? Really? Apple has the largest share of the smartphone market hardware wise and has the second largest share OS wise.
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post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

Didn't Michael Dell say something way back similar about Apple's OS?

Apple did not issue a statement that they have discontinued production of apple computers and are thinking about spinning off the devision. Palm is dead not because of market share (0), but because the company that owns it officially and on the record killed it off.
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post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post

I am no patent lawyer, but how much did Microsoft just make from companies paying to use Android? Does forking protect you from that? Wouldn't the fork have to remove all the stuff they filed suit for in the first place and even then still be open to possible litigation?

Yeah, no reason at all to look for an alternative OS if you are a phone maker...

Does not matter. Even if they pay some royalty it will still be better than buying webOS, a platform that brought not success to any company that used it.
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post #27 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Does not matter. Even if they pay some royalty it will still be better than buying webOS, a platform that brought not success to any company that used it.

Except that WebOS is a perfect fit for Amazon being that it does not seem to want to enter the tablet wars per se other than to build devices for its own ecosystem.
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post #28 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

Shocking to find such an Apple drone flaming Android. Have you even used an Android device that was made in the last couple years? I like WebOS conceptually, but to call it "certainly superior" to Android is ridiculous. On the same hardware Android runs buttery smooth while WebOS jutters and trips over itself just trying to manage a handful of running apps.

What stinks worse than a litter box is your attitude.

In regard to the article itself, seems silly for Amazon to throw out their entire android store in favor of a new OS which they will have to purchase (for a lofty sum) which has a (relatively) awful marketplace. Maybe they should just buy WebOS for the design then fork or skin Android with a similar UI. At the very least write a Dalvik interpreter that will allow them to continue to sell through the Android marketplace

Have I used an Android device? Two days ago. Next.

Android is inferior to WebOS in that Android users currently have to pay MS and other companies as well as the "open source" seems to be "stolen source." As Amazon will be making devices with Android on them, this would make WebOS superior for their use. I should have specified that as the meaning intended. I apologize.

I will have to let your "buttery smooth" comment pass, as it may be possible, but in my own experience Android has never even been "chunky peanut butter smooth" on any hardware I used, some two dozen different devices I have played with...

Why would it be silly for Amazon to change? They already used a highly customized UI on top of an older android. As others already pointed out, if they are smart, they planned for this and can easily change.

As for "selling through the Android market place" why would they wish to do that? I see no reason they would even be tempted to do so. They have their own market place, and might, like Apple, intend to control the whole eco-system.

In fact that is the reason they have a shot at being the only other tablet.

If Amazon works their own UI, ignores the flaming hunk of IP hurt that is Android, controls their content, and sells to their strength, the "iPad market" people like to point out exists (there is NO tablet market) will overnight become an "iPad/Amazon market." Amazon has real potential here.

That, BTW, is reality. You can call that being an Apple drone if you like, but you only show you are unable to think clearly. Pointing out that Android has no tablet presence at all is reality, not Apple fanboyism. Pointing out that Amazon has the best chance of extending the tablet market is pointing to potential reality, and has no room in a "drones" thinking. Pointing out that Android only has phone market share because it is the only other real choice atm is reality, and has no place in fanboyism. These are basic facts. Numerous studies, market break downs, customer surveys, and market analysis support this view. Telling me I am a "drone" for pointing out the obvious is just another way of admitting you have no real reply.

...and if you have nothing to say, you really should say exactly that.
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post #29 of 63
It all does not matter much. The end products will essentially be just a medium to buy Amazon's contents in addition to them getting your personal details and shopping habits.

Not interested.
post #30 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

Not sure I see the point in switching their tablet(s) to WebOS, but I guess if any company can revive WebOS its Amazon...Amazon smartphones, now that would be interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wuchmee View Post

This is actually a fascinating rumor. Think about it. Amazon ends up controlling webOS and develops proper tablets, not a purchase portal disguised as an e-book reader. This could make the next chapter in the tablet war very interesting.

And, to whomever said that webOS is dead: no, it's the HP TouchPad that's dead. HP simply did not imbue webOS with enough horsepower to make the TouchPad a real contender.

Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Except that WebOS is a perfect fit for Amazon being that it does not seem to want to enter the tablet wars per se other than to build devices for its own ecosystem.

Ahh...step back a bit and think about it!

What is Amazon selling? They aren't selling tablets or eReaders -- Amazon is selling Access to their services and their store.

What if Amazon were to buy WebOS and offer it to to the smart phone and tablet manufacturers?

1) The manufacturers would get access to all the Amazon content!

2) The manufacturers would get an unencumbered OS.

3) The manufacturers would get an OS with a level playing field (no favorite treatment like Moogle).

4) Amazon would get sales, traffic, marketing info -- all the things it really wants.

Along with the cached web browser, Amazon could out-Google Google!
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post #31 of 63
Good move Amazon.
post #32 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Ahh...step back a bit and think about it!

What is Amazon selling? They aren't selling tablets or eReaders -- Amazon is selling Access to their services and their store.

What if Amazon were to buy WebOS and offer it to to the smart phone and tablet manufacturers?

1) The manufacturers would get access to all the Amazon content!

2) The manufacturers would get an unencumbered OS.

3) The manufacturers would get an OS with a level playing field (no favorite treatment like Moogle).

4) Amazon would get sales, traffic, marketing info -- all the things it really wants.

Along with the cached web browser, Amazon could out-Google Google!

Amazon (content) and Google's (ads) situation is very similar and it's a very plausible theory.

Amazon would have to stop making its own tablets though. E-ink devices would be fine but the Fire and a 10 inch device would be out... no?
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post #33 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Amazon (content) and Google's (ads) situation is very similar and it's a very plausible theory.

Amazon would have to stop making its own tablets though. E-ink devices would be fine but the Fire and a 10 inch device would be out... no?

Yeah, Amazon would not want to compete with its customers (of WebOS).

I can see several easy ways of handling that.

1) Freeze the Fire (that has a nice ring) hardware as is.

2) Offer all WebOS manufacturers the opportunity to compete with matching minimal hardware at the $199-$249 price point.

3) No takers -- Amazon continues to offer the low-end loss leader -- protecting the manufactures from having to compete at that level.

The irony here, is that Amazon could make money (or break even) selling a Fire-like tablet made by someone else -- instead of losing money selling the Fire made by (for) Amazon.

The other thing worth mentioning is that Apple, Google, MS could not buy WebOS (AntiTrust) -- and no one else has the online ecosystem to make WebOS attractive to smart phone and tablet manufacturers.
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post #34 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune...
- William Shakespeare -


Hey Dick -

First you quoted me in your .sig, and then you switched to William Shakespeare. I seem to be in good company. Who is next, Albert Einstein?

You flatter me.
post #35 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post

I am no patent lawyer, but how much did Microsoft just make from companies paying to use Android? Does forking protect you from that? Wouldn't the fork have to remove all the stuff they filed suit for in the first place and even then still be open to possible litigation?

Yeah, no reason at all to look for an alternative OS if you are a phone maker...

It's estimated that Microsoft will get between $700 and $800 million in total from Android licenses in 2012.
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post #36 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Hey Dick -

First you quoted me in your .sig, and then you switched to William Shakespeare. I seem to be in good company. Who is next, Albert Einstein?

You flatter me.

I considered Uncle Shelby... but the chosen quote seems to fit this thread!

We all are in good company!
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post #37 of 63
So, let me get this straight. Amazon is going to offer Kindle Fire using an offshoot of Android 2.3, then perhaps, at some time, offering some other reader using a modification of WebOS.

They want to market Kindle Fire to help determine the potential market for their tablet, but now the product is orphaned. Say what?

Who would be dumb enough buy a Kindle Fire that will be a doorstop in a couple of months? Who would develop for such a platform?

Amazon might sell between 100 and 1000 Kindle Fires. LOL.
post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

It's estimated that Microsoft will get between $700 and $800 million in total from Android licenses in 2012.

Hmmm....

What should Zon (Amazon) be willing to pay for WebOS?

What creative ways could Zon use to monazite the expenditure?

Hmmm....
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post #39 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

So, let me get this straight. Amazon is going to offer Kindle Fire using an offshoot of Android 2.3, then perhaps, at some time, offering some other reader using a modification of WebOS.

They want to market Kindle Fire to help determine the potential market for their tablet, but now the product is orphaned. Say what?

Who would be dumb enough buy a Kindle Fire that will be a doorstop in a couple of months? Who would develop for such a platform?

Amazon might sell between 100 and 1000 Kindle Fires. LOL.

You miss the point:

1) Amazon is interested in selling content and access to their store.

2) The Fire is a loss-leader to accomplish the above.

3) If purchasing WebOS could deliver 1) above -- there is no need for 2).

4) If they desire, Amazon could upgrade the Fire to use WebOS

Most likely, Amazon will encourage phone and tablet manufactures to offer a WebOS based Fire equivalent.
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post #40 of 63
I've thought all along that that was the right move.
It really doesn't matter what the OS is because Amazon is simply slapping an easy-to-use vending machine on top of it.
If they intend to do apps (which I kind of doubt) then being stuck with Android 2.x is going to leave them in the ghetto. WebOS give them an opportunity to support really good web apps along with their vending machine.
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