|HP Calls Townhall Meeting to Decide Fate of webOS|
So HP's new CEO Meg Whitman has called a meeting with the remainder 500 employees of Palm to tell them what would be their fate and that of webOS, the Web-based OS introduced in 2009 and that was really advanced for its time back then, but has had parts of it and its creators "borrowed" by every other competitors.
When former CEO Leo Apotheker announced the gutting of the Palm unit, as well as dumping the whole personal group system, the reaction from stockholders and anyone with a brain was bad. Apotheker was kicked out a month a half later and replaced with Whitman.
Since, she's reversed the decision on the dumping of the personal systems' group and announced today that HP had not made any decision on what to do with Palm and webOS. She said, however, that a decision would be taken in a month at the most.
I know many don't care about Palm and webOS and would probably like to see it burn and die, but it's still got tons of value. Notice that Apple has never sued Palm or HP on anything mobile-related - and they never will. webOS was the first mobile OS to copy several patented tricks from Apple's iOS like pinch to zoom and unlocking your phone by swiping up. Palm is virtually untouchable because of its patents portfolio. It has the patent on the smartphone, three-way calling, light sensitivity, airplane mode, and a truckload of core mobile patents that would make any attack by Apple, Nokia, Rim, Microsoft or Google a mutually assured self-destruction. The word on the street is that you don't sue the guy who owns the patent on the smartphone.
This story is to be continued...
Many things to learn from there, first the patent issue, also what happens when somebody decides to give the users everything they want "ok, bigger, no, lighter, no, flash, no with drag and drop", to me HP went straight up with their tablet as the story of the bradley, that expensive militar vehicle that got nowhere.
What I still don't understand is why, despite the similarity of PALM with Apple they never got nowhere, PALM was the apple equivalent of the PDas and smartphones but lacked "punch" somehow.
Palm was indeed one of the few companies with Apple-like mojo in their product design. the actual original webOS team was mostly a bunch of ex-Apple folks trying out on their own and giving the finger to Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs even said that Palm made great software and didn't like the debacle happening with HP and Apotheker, while others were salivating.
webOS still has features that other mobile OSes can only dream about. It's the only OS that was fully built to integrate any native Web services at the core of the OS. The iOS5 integration of Twitter is not spectacular, when you think that webOS has integrated Google services, Microsoft services, like Exchange and Hotmail, Yahoo services, Skype, Facebook and Linkedin at the core of the OS since 2009.
For example the recent music service integration introduced by Facebook, where many music apps, such as RDO, Grooveshark, and Spotify all integrate within the platform, is something webOS has been doing in the filed of contacts, communications, email, photo/images services since 2009.
webOS is wht Google Android should have been done. it's like Chrome OS, but actually deployed on real devices people use in their lives, not vanity netbooks that only geeks can buy.
About the patents, HP and Palm have always used them defensively as opposed to offensively, like Apple. HP and Palm believe, like many old tech companies that patents are to be used defensively to stop competitors from attacking. The portfolio is incredible. If HO was to demand $10 bucks for each patents used by competitors running Android, Windows 7, BlackBerry or iOS, they would make a killing. You cannot built a smartphone without infringing on Palm's patents. Another one of their core patents is the one integrating the Web on devices. I know, pretty simple patent, but if you want to use a browser on a phone that's not from Palm, you need to infringe on that patent. If you are looking for a contact just by typing its initials, you are also infringing on a Palm patent.
Palm could generate tons of money for HP and pay for itself, just by requiring everybody to pay for the right of using their vast patents library.