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WebOS may be licensed to rival manufacturers by HP

Friday, July 1, 2011 - 10:55:24

Electronics giant HP acquired the WebOS mobile platform last year when it bought out ailing mobile manufacturer Palm, but now it could share the software with other firms, as its CEO admits that licensing talks are taking place.

Leo Apotheker was not specific during his interview with Bloomberg, although it is thought that South Korean company, Samsung, might be interested in creating a smartphone based on WebOS in the near future if a deal can be struck with HP.

Mr Apotheker said that there is a small group of interested parties, which is fairly non-committal in itself, but does suggest that WebOS might find a life outside the small number of devices which HP has planned to run the platform.

Of course the speed with which rival WebOS platforms arrive on the market is going to vary depending on the specific terms hammered out at the table, with Mr Apotheker suggesting that any companies who do invest in a licensing deal will be in no rush to bring compatible devices onto shelves.

Samsung, HTC and LG are the three firms which deal most regularly with multiple mobile operating systems for their smartphones and, as such, might be the most inclined to look to WebOS as yet another arrow in their respective quivers.

Of course on the flip side, these manufacturers might not want to spread themselves too thinly and may well be content to continue supporting Android, Windows Phone 7 and their own in-house endeavours before licensing yet another batch of software.

HP spent almost £750 million in its acquisition of HP last year, largely because it wanted to get at WebOS. Now it looks like the firm might not be confident that its investment will be reimbursed, partly explaining the presence of licensing rumours.




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