HP took a bit of a beating in 2011, with the failure of its mobile hardware division just one of several high-profile blows to knock the wind out of the once-mighty brand.
But new CEO Meg Whitman is confident things are moving forward again, and reckons webOS might have a future after all – thanks to Google's acquisition of Motorola.
It seems a long time ago now that HP was hinting at exciting plans to base its entire product ecosystem around webOS after handing over upwards of a billion dollars to gobble up Palm.
However, reality delivered a cold slap in the face when both the Pre3 smartphone and the TouchPad tablet bombed – after all, if HP couldn't make webOS work on the devices it was designed for, there wasn't much point in expanding it to a wider roll-out. In the end, HP decided to cut its losses, and can its mobile hardware, hinting that webOS would either be sold or simply cast aside.
But then things changed. After a major upheaval that saw former CEO Leo Apotheker replaced by Whitman, suddenly we started hearing noises that HP was looking into resurrecting webOS and giving it another go. And it seems recent events has only hardened Whitman's resolve.
She has already laid into both iOS and Android – which now dominate the mobile arena – for being “closed” and “fragmented” respectively, and now she's had another go at Android, claiming that the company's acquisition of Motorola could see it too being a closed ecosystem, leaving plenty of room for alternative choices.
”I think there is room for another operating system,” Whitman said at HP’s global partner summit in Las Vegas this week. “IOS is great but it is a closed system. I think that Android may end up as a closed system because of [Google’s] relationship with Motorola.”
Google has insisted that the purchase of Motorola – which was officially wrapped up this week – won't affect its relationship with its other hardware partners. But Whitman doesn't seem so sure, and neither are we, to be honest.
Of course, whether that'll open up any space for a recovering webOS to make its own is another matter. After all, everyone knows that Microsoft and Nokia have bought the rights to the “third ecosystem” tag...