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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    shenshen Posts: 434member
    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...
  • Reply 2 of 62
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 62
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    buy them for the patents? most palm employees have been laid off and it's cheaper to just hire them
  • Reply 4 of 62
    And then Oracle buys what's left of HP after that.

    Larry wants to fire a bunch of execs there.
  • Reply 5 of 62
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 62
    ikolikol Posts: 369member
    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?
  • Reply 7 of 62
    shenshen Posts: 434member
    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...
  • Reply 8 of 62
    shenshen Posts: 434member
    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...
  • Reply 9 of 62
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 62
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    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
  • Reply 11 of 62
    shenshen Posts: 434member
    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...
  • Reply 12 of 62
    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!
  • Reply 13 of 62
    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
  • Reply 14 of 62
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 62
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 62
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    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?



  • Reply 17 of 62
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 62
    neo42neo42 Posts: 287member
    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
  • Reply 19 of 62
    tipootipoo Posts: 849member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 62
    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.
Sign In or Register to comment.