Should Samsung or Google Buy webOS?

August 29, 2011
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According to a report from Digitimes, Samsung is considering buying webOS from HP. Some people think that this is because of Google buying Motorola, and while this may be true to some extent, Samsung have been weighing their options for a while now.

They made the Bada OS as a back-up to Android, which is not doing too bad right now, out-selling WP7, but I’m sure they’d like it to be a lot more successful than it is. However, it’s very hard to beat Android’s momentum right now. Even Microsoft is having a hard time doing that with WP7.

And speaking of which, Samsung thought that WP7 would be their real alternative to Android, and even though their Focus smartphone was probably the most popular WP7 phone, I’m sure they weren’t very happy with the sales, and expected a lot more from WP7.

So, now, here we are with HP exiting the PC and tablet business, and basically killing webOS, which many people regarded as a beautiful and elegant OS, even more so than iOS. And of course, who hasn’t heard about or seen the webOS’ legendary card-based multi-tasking system, that even RIM had to replicate in their Playbook OS. If Samsung wants to give it another shot with another alternative to Android, this is as good as it gets. Plus, Palm’s mobile patents will definitely become handy when Microsoft tries to make them pay $15 per phone again.

But is it better if webOS goes to Samsung, or Google?

Ever since I saw webOS, for some reason I found it very strange that Google didn’t own webOS. Not only was it a much better competitor to iOS back in 2009 when Palm announced it, but it was also more compatible with Google’s overall vision of promoting web-apps and web technologies. WebOS has a lot in common with Chrome OS. It’s also a Linux based OS, with a webkit browser on top, and its “native” apps are made with HTML/JS/CSS. That sounds an awful lot like Chrome OS. Plus, now that Android got in so much trouble over patents, the $1.2 billion that HP paid for Palm’s patents, webOS and 1000 employees, sounds like a total bargain right now.

But that was then. If Google were to buy webOS today, it would probably cost them a little more, and I’m not sure if they still want to do it after they bought Motorola, but I’m sure they could use some of webOS’s technology and also some of their engineers and designers, who made webOS so great looking.

If Google doesn’t want it anymore, then I’d actually prefer Samsung got it. Samsung will probably never quit Android, at least not as long as they keep selling millions of Android devices, but having them make sure webOS survives, will offer healthy competition to Android, and might even get Samsung to give up WP7 in favor of webOS, which may end up actually helping Android, rather than hurting it.

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