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HP considering sale of webOS to 'several' companies including Oracle

post #1 of 29
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PC maker HP is said to still be considering the sale of its webOS mobile operating system, though any deal is expected to be less than the $1.2 billion it originally paid to acquire the platform from Palm.

Citing four anonymous sources, Reuters has said that HP is evaluating the sale of webOS for a price that could fetch hundreds of millions of dollars. While "several" companies are said to have expressed interest, Oracle Corp is said to be among the most likely buyers.

The report said that HP is being advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch as it weighs the pros and cons of keeping webOS or selling off the software. Neither HP or Bank of America would comment.

HP bought Palm in April of 2010 for $1.2 billion, an investment made largely to acquire the webOS platform that powers smartphones like the Palm Pre. The webOS mobile operating system was then updated to run on tablets, as HP hoped to compete with Apple's highly successful iPad.

But HP's first and only webOS-based tablet device, the TouchPad, failed to gain any traction in the market, and the PC maker opted to abandon the device, clearing out inventory with a $99 fire sale.

Since then, HP fired its CEO Leo Apotheker and brought in a new chief executive, Meg Whitman, who opted to reverse a decision by Apotheker and keep the company's PC business. However, Whitman did not change course on webOS, leaving the future of the mobile operating system in an uncertain state.



Since HP decided to ax future webOS-based hardware, a number of potential buyers have been rumored, though a deal has not yet been made. Among those who were said to be considering a bid were Samsung and HTC, two of Apple's biggest competitors in the smartphone market.

Both Samsung and HTC primarily build Android-based smartphones to compete with Apple's iPhone. But owning their own platform like webOS would allow either company to further differentiate themselves from other Android-powered devices, and to offer an integrated hardware-software solution that resembles Apple's strategy with iOS and Mac OS X.
post #2 of 29
Hey, Oracle, don't take the bait. You just do your thing with Android and get that taken care of.

Then you can spend money on the 1985 Yugo of mobile operating systems if you want.

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #3 of 29
Apple should just buy it.. For the patents and to keep it off competitors hands. Even take features from webOS and add it to iOS.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Apple should just buy it.. For the patents and to keep it off competitors hands. Even take features from webOS and add it to iOS.

I second that. There are some good features in Web OS, the patents alone should be worth the cash to Apple.

It's not like they can't afford it!
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post #5 of 29
Oracle? Would Larry Ellison compete with Apple?
post #6 of 29
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Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

Oracle? Would Larry Ellison compete with Apple?

Maybe they'll do it for the patents to kill Android

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post #7 of 29
Meg Whitman is keeping the mature PC business and selling off assets in the exponentially growing mobile space. Is that the decision of a visionary?
post #8 of 29
Depreciation is a bitch. As soon as you take an OS home it's worth less than you paid for it.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

Oracle? Would Larry Ellison compete with Apple?

That is an interesting question. He and Jobs were BFFs. But don't forget these are just rumors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

Maybe they'll do it for the patents to kill Android

If the WebOS patents are so powerful, it is interesting that HP (or Palm, previously) has not used them to target anyone.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

Meg Whitman is keeping the mature PC business and selling off assets in the exponentially growing mobile space. Is that the decision of a visionary?

No.

..
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Hey, Oracle, don't take the bait. You just do your thing with Android and get that taken care of.

Then you can spend money on the 1985 Yugo of mobile operating systems if you want.

That's not at all fair. We have a TouchPad and it's not bad. In fact, it's quite promising - I like the way it works better than Android. It's more fluid and intuitive.

Granted, app availability stinks, but the system itself works great. It could actually be a good purchase for someone. I could see RIM buying it.
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post #12 of 29
[duplicate]
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post #13 of 29
I could see Oracle buying WebOS for the patent portfolio. It could help Larry in his battle against Google. Apple, on the other hand, has nothing to benefit from purchasing the IP to WebOS. They've already got an industry-leading smartphone and tablet OS and have hired away many of the most talented WebOS programmers. If HP were smart, they'd force Oracle and Google into a bidding war and drive the sales price as high as possible...
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

We have a TouchPad and it's not bad. In fact, it's quite promising - I like the way it works better than Android. It's more fluid and intuitive.

Granted, app availability stinks, but the system itself works great. It could actually be a good purchase for someone. I could see RIM buying it.

I agree with everything you stated except what I bolded. I am not aware of any plans to keep the OS updated on the TouchPad or to further the TouchPad line.
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post #15 of 29
Can Apple even buy it? I mean they can afford it, but I wonder if the DOJ would get involved.

I know Google, Samsung, and HTC would push the DOJ to block an acquisition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Apple should just buy it.. For the patents and to keep it off competitors hands. Even take features from webOS and add it to iOS.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I could see RIM buying it.

I can see that only because it follows the pattern.

Palm develops it, they go bankrupt and get bought.

HP develops it, their company gets torn apart and they consider even discontinuing their computers.

RIM

Anyway, RIM's on the downward spiral right now, so they might not be in the buying anything game for a while.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #17 of 29
Apple will benefit if the buy WebOS now that's a big if.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I agree with everything you stated except what I bolded. I am not aware of any plans to keep the OS updated on the TouchPad or to further the TouchPad line.

Really? Cause we got an update to the OS a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, someone is still updating and providing new apps as well. As far as new TP's. Yeah, what we have is all we're gonna get.

And the TP has one thing in particular i really like and that is the use of cards. It is very Apple like and intuitive to swipe and click cards for moving in between apps.
post #19 of 29
Worthless OS.

A small minority of people keep mumbling about how much potential it has. The thing is, people have been saying that for years and it's had it's chance, more than once, and it has failed. The best thing to do is kill it completely. I am tired about reading about WebOS.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Worthless OS.

Have you tried it? Or are you talking about something that you have no clue about? I think it's the later. I own several ipads and a TP. The OS is far from worthless on the TP. Only reason i don't use my TP more is a lack of apps.
post #21 of 29
Seems unlikely to me that HP would sell WebOS to Oracle.
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post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Granted, app availability stinks, but the system itself works great. It could actually be a good purchase for someone. I could see RIM buying it.

That would be a disaster. Doing nothing with it at all would be better than RIM messing with it. Sad really.

I own an iPad 2 and more Apple products than I care to count right now, but all the blind WebOS hate reeks of extreme fanboyism. My mom actually likes the TouchPad more than the iPad . . .
post #23 of 29
"Hundreds of millions of dollars".... LMAO!

I don't think so. Even if they own some blockbuster intellectual property, I cannot see anyone bidding what they suggest.

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post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonar666 View Post

Seems unlikely to me that HP would sell WebOS to Oracle.

They will sell it to anyone willing to take it off their hands. Their reputation and credibility is in pretty rough shape.

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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

Meg Whitman is keeping the mature PC business and selling off assets in the exponentially growing mobile space. Is that the decision of a visionary?

My first thought too.

I read that HP is looking to emulate IBM's transition out of hardware/manufacturing and into business services...iacocca was right, pretty soon we will all be selling insurance to each other!
post #26 of 29
Hey Apple, buy them back.
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by z3r0 View Post

Can Apple even buy it? I mean they can afford it, but I wonder if the DOJ would get involved.

I know Google, Samsung, and HTC would push the DOJ to block an acquisition.

I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see how Apple's ~30% share of the smartphone market combined with WebOS' ~0% of the smartphone market would result in Apple having a monopoly in the smartphone market.

I guess you could argue that Apple might have anti-compeitive intentions with any patents that might come with WebOS. But to a certain extent every company has "anti-compeitive" intentions in so far as they want to beat their competitors. Anti-trust law only kicks in when a firm actually has the ability, not just the desire, to rub out the competition and become or defend a monopoly. For example. while Microsoft can get into trouble for bundling IE with Windows, Apple doesn't get into trouble for bundling Safari with the Mac. The difference is all about market power.

I suspect that it would be very hard to prove that Apple would be in a position to monopolize the smartphone market just by buying WebOS.
post #28 of 29
Well I'm pretty sure they would argue against Apple gaining all that IP. Though Nokia owns a ton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see how Apple's ~30% share of the smartphone market combined with WebOS' ~0% of the smartphone market would result in Apple having a monopoly in the smartphone market.

I guess you could argue that Apple might have anti-compeitive intentions with any patents that might come with WebOS. But to a certain extent every company has "anti-compeitive" intentions in so far as they want to beat their competitors. Anti-trust law only kicks in when a firm actually has the ability, not just the desire, to rub out the competition and become or defend a monopoly. For example. while Microsoft can get into trouble for bundling IE with Windows, Apple doesn't get into trouble for bundling Safari with the Mac. The difference is all about market power.

I suspect that it would be very hard to prove that Apple would be in a position to monopolize the smartphone market just by buying WebOS.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Hey Apple, buy them back.

I think it makes some sense as Palm had a lot of nice features in WebOS. I don't think they will though because of the whole Rubinstein politics. I feel bad for him as he seems quite passionate about his work and not an entirely corporate type but it is funny to see the differences between the iPhone and the Pre and you can tell the Pre was designed by people who make too many compromises in quality and who try to please everyone.

If he went back to Apple, he would be placed below both Ive and Cook and he'd probably rather retire than be subservient to them. Now Rubinstein and WebOS don't necessarily have to go together but I'd say that's the only way the deal would be worthwhile - getting the product is not where the value is, it's in the people who make it.

If I'm being totally honest, I actually feel Rubinstein is a far more engaging presenter than Cook:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLXsQ3JkLdU

If Apple is going to do something crazy like make a TV set, who would sell it best to a skeptical public, Cook or Rubi? I think Apple needs to sort this issue out. Cook seems like a nice guy but like Wozniak, they talk about new products in a way that they've been convinced they are great and are recommending them to a friend. That's not strong enough IMO. The company's reputation and products might not require it any more of course but it's nice to watch an engaging presentation at a new launch and although the current Apple team wouldn't like to hear it, Rubinstein has a presentation style closer to Jobs than any of them and not in a plagiarising way like the Google presenters.
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