HP's end to webOS (although, it'll still be supported, for now) was heartbreaking for fans of the OS, but there's possible good news. Rumor has it Samsung might buy webOS from HP and give it the love it truly deserves.
DigiTimes reports that Samsung is looking to take webOS under its wing to bolster its fight against Apple and Google. Samsung's mobile division has lots of money — about $53 billion in cash. Here's why an acquisition of webOS by Samsung makes sense:
1. Keep Competition Up
U.S. & World
With Apple and Google (its recent buyout of Motorola Mobility only thickens the plot) duking it out in the smartphone wars and Nokia siding with Windows Phone 7 for the long haul, ol' Sammy's slowly getting squeezed out of any chances at playing in the mobile OS wars. Look at RIM, it's already getting its butt handed to it, on the fact that its been too slow to adopt a modern mobile OS (QNX is a start, but it's treading into Android territory).
WebOS is filled with innovative ideas such as the "cards" system that buying it out would give Samsung the patent arsenal it needs to defend against rivals.
2. Prevent Lawsuits
Yeah, Samsung's in hot water for copying the iPad and iPhone from a physical design standpoint, but the similarities don't end there. Apple's accused the electronics giant of cloning its software too, insisting its icons and layout are too similar.
With webOS, Samsung would be able to differentiate itself completely from the pack. Granted, most Samsung-made Android smartphones are already pretty great (software-wise), adding diversity into the cards would give consumers more choice. And even though Samsung does have its very own Bada OS, that OS has hardly managed to make a splash the way webOS has. Just look at how fast people snatched up the $99 TouchPad when it went on a fire sale — it's clear people don't mind if the OS is not iOS or Android.
There's plenty of room for a third OS, something Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry have failed to truly fill.
3. WebOS Is Tablet-friendly, Too
Right now, the tablet scene looks like this: iPad and iPad 2. Next spring, it's going to look exactly the same, with the iPad 3 thrown in as well. Motorola's failed to build a good Android tablet. Toshiba's failed too. Acer as well. Google's Tab 8.9 is alright, but still needs polishing.
If Samsung were to have webOS in-house, it wouldn't need to develop its own tablet OS or configure Android to work properly because webOS scales great for tablets. Palm and HP basically did all the development and now Sammy need only build on top of it. The underlying core to webOS is already in place.
It's possible that if Samsung acquires webOS, it can build a vertical development system, much like Apple, that controls both the hardware and software. HP tried to become more Apple-like when it purchased Palm last year for $1.2 billion. Unfortunately, after former HP CEO Mark Hurd left the company due to a scandal, the incoming and current CEO Leo Apetheker didn't see things on the same plane. He gave webOS and its hardware a ultimatum to deliver sales with the TouchPad and it failed. Samsung could see better results since it's deeply entrenched in the mobile hardware game, unlike HP.
Only Rumors, Right Now
While a new home for webOS with Samsung sounds great, it's only a rumble on the radar. Samsung's shown no interest in buying HP's PC business, despite the rumors that it was considering a purchase. On that account, Samsung's chief executive Choi Gee-sung came out swinging with a denial:
"Hewlett-Packard is the global leader in the PC business, while Samsung is an emerging player in the category. Based on the significant disparity in scale withSamsung's own PC business and lack of synergies, Samsung is not interested in the acquisition."
The very same could happen for Samsung's rumored consideration of webOS.