Posted by: mobilitycloud | June 2, 2011

HP’s webOS: The stakes just got higher for Windows tablets

HP’s webOS: The stakes just got higher for Windows tablets

In a tablet PC market dominated by the Apple iPad, the race on for a No. 2.
Tablets running Microsoft’s Windows operating system haven’t gone anywhere.
Neither have those running Google Android. But the companies aren’t giving

HP Logo

And now there’s a fourth competitor: Hewlett-Packard.

HP CEO Léo Apotheker today said its cloud-based operating system, webOS
(which HP got in last year’s Palm acquisition), will ship on every HP computer.
And his company is considering the idea of licensing webOS to other companies,
just as Microsoft does with Windows.

“We want to create a holistic ecosystem around webOS,” Apotheker said at All
Things Digital’s D9 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., according
to ATD
. “We’re putting it on phones, on our TouchPad tablet which will debut
as scheduled this summer. And we’ll put webOS on PCs. … It will go on every PC
that we’ll ship.”

At the onset, webOS will sit on top of Windows on HP PCs. This is old news –
Apotheker said the same in March.

But what’s different about today is Apotheker’s forceful language and HP’s
broad goals for webOS, showing the computing giant’s departure from a long-time
amicable relationship with Microsoft.

“I think it’s a blow (to Microsoft). At the end of the day, you don’t have a
valuable partner that you had there before,” said Wes Miller, an analyst with
Kirkland-based Directions on Microsoft. “HP chose their own road.”

iPad 2

Just over a year since Apple released the iPad, the tablet war among market
trailers is heating up.

On Tuesday at D9, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt fired
a shot at Microsoft
, saying the software giant is “not driving the consumer
revolution.” Apotheker’s comments could be seen as a vote of no confidence in

Meanwhile, Microsoft is going on the offensive by limiting chip-makers to
only one computer manufacturer – if they want to qualify for certain incentives,
News reports
. According to the report, Microsoft seems to be looking to cut
down on the often-jumbled mess of different PCs that run Windows.

“You’re dealing with the old game of ‘telephone,’” Miller said said. “To
build a PC, you’re literally dealing with at least three companies.”

By pushing chip makers and device manufacturers to buddy up and not work with
anyone else on Windows tablets, Microsoft is trying to make those tablets more
elegant. Competing with Apple requires devices that work elegantly – hardware
optimized for the operating system, and vice versa, Miller said.

The move is reminiscent of Microsoft strategy last year with Windows Phone 7,
when the company limited device manufacturers to certain specifications.
Microsoft decided a long time ago to not become a hardware company, but now it
must swim through the political rapids of the hardware ecosystem it helped

Windows Logo

Meanwhile, in HP, you have a hardware company that has decided to also become
a software company.

“Presumably the biggest potential area to license webOS is tablets,” Al
Hilwa, a Seattle-based analyst with IDC, wrote to “I would say that the HP
devices, when they come out, will be the biggest proofs of concept. If they do
well in the market, and the price is right, then there may be potential to
license them.”

The pressure is on for Microsoft to deliver Windows tablets that are cool
enough, elegant enough and robust enough (by way of applications) to compete
with the iPad. Windows division President Steven Sinofsky is scheduled to
present the next version of Windows on tablets this afternoon at D9 – stay tuned
to The Microsoft Blog for that news. (Updated 5:52 p.m.: Read’s report
on the wild Windows 8 demo

But if webOS tablets catch on and Windows tablets don’t, could there be even
bigger implications for Windows down the line? Especially as Google flexes its
muscles with a similar operating system, ChromeOS?

“At this point of the game it seems too early to assess one’s threat on the
other since both have to enter this space and be successful in it,” Hilwa wrote.
“The advantage Microsoft has is the existing PC ecosystem and developers,
(independent software vendors) and partners. Presumably HP believes they can
overcome that with a new environment because it is compelling in some other
ways. We will have to see how this plays out … never a dull moment in this


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: