HP CEO hints at licensing webOS to third parties [update: video!] | webOS Nation

HP CEO hints at licensing webOS to third parties [update: video!]

by Dieter Bohn Wed, 01 Jun 2011 3:16 pm EDT

On the stage at the D9 conference, CEO Leo Apotheker hasn't dropped any bombshells except, well, this: a response to the folks at This is my next:

Q: You might license to WebOS. That puts you in direct competition with Microsoft?

Leo: I happen to believe that WebOS is a uniquely outstanding operating system. It’s not correct to believe that it should only be on HP devices. There are all kinds of other people who want to make whatever kind of hardware they make and would like to connect them to the Internet. We’ll make it available to enteprises and to SMBs. It will run on lots of HP devices.

Q: Would you license it to HTC?

Leo: It is certainly something we would entertain.

Yowza. That's quite the about-face from previous statements both at HP and long-standing statements from Palm, where the "tight integration between hardware and software" ruled the day. It's been many years since an OS made by Palm found its way onto third party hardware and, well, back in those days it was the third parties (namely Sony and Handspring) that brought the real innovation to the hardware. While earlier in the talk Apotheker made it clear that initially HP is only looking to release their own hardware products to "gain credibility," the idea of HTC or Samsung bulding the hardware running webOS is tantalizing, innit?

Update: AllThingsD has posted the video of Joshua Topolsky's exchange with Apotheker, and it adds some additional context to the quotes. The video is after the break, but lets say that it seems that the HP CEO has more interest in sending webOS into closed corporate environments than to competitors like HTC. But... it's something he's willing to entertain. Either way, the fact that HP posted this onto their corporate blog indicates that they're not backing away from the comments - perhaps Apotheker's not a McNamee after all...