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HP to keep webOS cloud services; LG open to maybe someday extending webOS beyond TV 34

by Derek Kessler Mon, 25 Feb 2013 1:38 pm EST

HP to keep webOS cloud services; LG open to maybe someday extending webOS beyond

After today's news that LG is buying webOS from HP, there's been some lingering questions about what all is happening. We finally got a press release from HP, verifying that LG is indeed purchasing the webOS source code, documentations, websites, and the team behind the formerly-mobile operating system to make themselves a fancy new webOS TV.

The cloud services team, meanwhile, will be staying with HP and running the App Catalog and backup services for existing webOS customers. Additionally, Veghte told The Verge that HP sees this as "an opportunity to broaden our reach in delivering services to customers on a variety of platforms," and that they "can use this very broadly in our enterprise services organizations." For what it's worth, HP's been talking about utilizing webOS assets with their enterprise division for some time and nothing has yet seems to have materialized from it.

Contrary to this morning's report from CNET, HP will not be transferring ownership of the Palm patent portfolio to LG. Instead, LG will be licensing the patents, though unsurprisingly neither company seems prepared to comment on licensing term specifics. Additionally, LG claims to be committed to continued participation in the Open webOS project and open source development, but we'll have to see where that goes when their attention is going to be focused elsewhere (TVs).

For their part, LG CT Dr. Skott Ahn told The Verge that "In the short term, we'll apply this to the TV only. But in the future, wherever our plans take us, we'll consider an extension to other devices." Take that with a grain of salt, though. LG's not expecting to unveil their first webOS TV until CES in January 2014, and it could be much longer after that before they opt to bring webOS to other devices in their portfolio, assuming they do so at all. The webOS userbase and app ecosystem have been heavily damaged over the years, and another two or three years of delays will essentially be starting from scratch.

Additionally, LG seems to not be intending to offer that expansion into areas currently inhabited by their established Android wares, as in the phones and tablets that we so desperately want to run webOS. Ahn is quoted in the a combined press releases as saying that "the open and transparent webOS technology offers a compelling user experience that, when combined with our own technology, will pave the way for future innovations using the latest Web technologies," a sentiment that we certainly agree with, but it seems to us to be best suited to handheld devices and not larger scale applications like televisions. But we aren't the ones plunking down millions of dollars here.

LG Electronics Acquires webOS from HP to Enhance Smart TV

LG to License HP IP, Integrate webOS Technology into Next-Generation Devices

SEOUL, Korea, and PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 25, 2013 – LG Electronics Inc. has acquired the webOS operating system technology from HP, the companies announced today.

To support its next-generation Smart TV technology, LG has entered into a definitive agreement with HP to acquire the source code, associated documentation, engineering talent and related websites associated with webOS. As part of the transaction, LG also will receive licenses under HP’s intellectual property (IP) for use with its webOS products, including patents acquired from Palm covering fundamental operating system and user interface technologies now in broad use across the industry.

Today’s announcement paves the way for continued innovation on the webOS platform and on LG’s roadmap of innovative solutions for many years to come, while allowing HP to focus its resources on strategic business opportunities such as cloud computing.

“This groundbreaking development demonstrates LG’s commitment to investing in talent and research in Silicon Valley, one of the world’s innovation hotbeds. It creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices,” said Skott Ahn, president and chief technology officer, LG Electronics Inc. “The open and transparent webOS technology offers a compelling user experience that, when combined with our own technology, will pave the way for future innovations using the latest Web technologies.”

Ahn explained that LG Electronics’ investment in webOS technology and its acquisition of the innovation team’s R&D capabilities are expected to extend LG’s leadership in bringing Internet services directly to consumer electronics devices. “Integrated with LG, this team will be the heart and soul of the new LG Silicon Valley Lab, focused on bringing innovative technology solutions to market through the most popular platforms for sharing and consuming content and experiences,” he said. With the transaction, LG will add the Sunnyvale and San Francisco sites to its global R&D locations, in addition to its existing U.S. sites in San Jose and Chicago.

Also under the agreement:

  • LG will assume stewardship of the open source projects of Open WebOS and Enyo.
  • HP will retain ownership of all of Palm’s cloud computing assets, including source code, talent, infrastructure and contracts.
  • HP will continue to support Palm users.

“WebOS and its associated community deliver market leading platforms for the next generation of connected devices. We are constantly looking for opportunities to accelerate the delivery of this platform from the community,” said Bill Veghte, HP’s chief operating officer. “LG’s track record of innovation and broad distribution provides this opportunity, while enabling HP to accelerate our Cloud efforts. In particular, with the cloud assets that will remain with HP, we will focus on delivering innovative solutions that will enable our enterprise customers to mobilize their workforce.”

HP and LG do not expect this transaction to have a material impact on either company’s financial statements. Terms were not disclosed.

About HP
HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.HP.com.

About LG Electronics USA
LG Electronics USA, Inc., based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics, Inc., a $45 billion global force and technology leader in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications. In the United States, LG sells a range of stylish and innovative home entertainment products, mobile phones, home appliances, commercial displays, air conditioning systems and solar energy solutions, all under LG’s “Life’s Good” marketing theme. LG is a 2012 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year. For more information, please visit www.LG.com.

About LG Electronics, Inc.
LG Electronics Inc. (KSE: 066570.KS) is a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, mobile communications and home appliances, employing more than 93,000 people working in over 120 operations around the world. With 2012 global sales of $45 billion, LG comprises four business units – Home Entertainment, Mobile Communications, Home Appliances, and Air Conditioning & Energy Solutions. LG is one of the world’s leading producers of flat panel TVs, mobile devices, air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators. For more information, please visit www.LGnewsroom.com.

Source: HP, The Verge

34 Comments

Well, better than nothing I guess.

WEBOS IS SAVED!!!

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I'm normally been of the mindset, that despite all the screw-ups, the possibility still remained for webOS re-entering the mobile field - albeit, difficult for the most part. I always saw HP - despite it's treatment of webOS - as the company that would realize the OS they have in their pockets, is a means to being #1 again. Android will keep them in the playing field, but for the most part, they'll be amongst the peons when it comes to mobile opportunities.

With this LG/HP news, I'm inclined to now believe this WAS the final nail in the coffin. Hopefully I'm wrong here, but I definitely can't see the forest right now. Just a few trees left - waiting for some harsh weather to put webOS and us, out of our misery.

Thanks HP. Enjoy the descent.

I think next up (for me), is BB10.
.

That's weird.
I have almost exactly opposite view on this.

It's been very clear to me that HP is suffering from internal turf wars and next-quarter-syndrom.
They are big and inflexible and have trouble coming up with a viable strategy, seriously implementing and sticking with it.

webos was quite clearly (at best) comatose in HPs hands.
I wrote off HP last year and only expected new stuff from homebrew hackers.

LG paying money to use webos is not much good news (TV? Couldn't care less) - but it's a little bit better than HP sitting on the stuff while they try out W8 and Android (fail after fail).
At least they have some current plans for it. And there is a tiny bit of hope that LG might decide to put it onto phones and tablets again. At least LG is actually active and committed in the mobile business.

Agree with you. Lg has lots of money and might try to do risky things like its sibling Samsung is with Tizen in developing markets. HP is walking on eggshells to avoid the already potent wrath of its shareholder and wallstreet. Samsung is owned by a family and wouldn't be surprised if LG is also. I'm not letting my hope run too high but being owned by a company that cares is better than HP which doesn't know what to do with webos and is afraid to mention it (like an awkward broken up relationship)

This all sort of feels like Black Thursday all over again, though not with quite the same level of sudden despair since there really wasn't much hope yesterday anyway. This latest article with clarifications from LG and HP is supposed to restore some sliver of hope, but I think we all know the truth. webOS for use on mobile devices is dead. Whatever comes of this, it won't be of any use to any of us for a LONG time.

On the upside this makes my own choices a little more clear; I've been about ready to retire my Pre3 for awhile, but had been unsure whether to go with a Galaxy Nexus with hopes of someday running Open webOS on it, or to just choose whichever phone I like and can get a good deal on without any regard to Open webOS. Now it's clear there really is no point in clinging to webOS any longer.

Last one out, turn off the lights... don't bother locking the doors, there's nothing left.

Head scratch-er.... Its gotta be about the patent wars..

This is a great webOS day.

I keep hearing this from a few posters.

Why is it a great day?
Relegating webOS to being a TV butler, is not my idea of a good day.

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well, it's better than not being on any devices I guess.

F... TV.
I haven't even owned a TV for half a decade now (TV is so last century).
Couldn't care less about webos on TVs. Or toasters, or printers.

But LG is quite active in the mobile market (unlike HP who stumble from one weak fail to the next).
There is a much better chance that LG decides to use webos on phones than HP doing so in the foreseeable future.

So,.... Who's on First? I see,... LG has visitation rights every other week plus every other holiday....? But what if Saturn is aligned with Neptune when our moon is full on even days?? What then, Mr. Veghte?

As usual, all the Chicken Littles are running around banging into each other screaming "the sky is falling, the sky is falling". I see is as positive news that my awesome Pre 3 will be running fine for the foreseeable future. :)

The end is here! Oh wait...

To me it just sounds like a clean break, with HP continuing support of Palm/HP devices and software only, and LG with Open Source and future development. I can't believe LG would take all that on for just a smarter TV. They must have some great ideas. LG seems to be willing to take risks unlike most in this economy. Who knows what might already be going on behind closed doors. LG has come a very long way from their original GoldStar microwaves.

webOS for LG is a tremendously good idea, because 99.99999% of people don't give 2 cents about what OS their TV is running. LG gets to put a bad ass interface on their TVs and amaze people without ever having to draw attention that its running a mostly failed mobile OS. Imagine a TV your kids or students can directly interact with without some proprietary, narrow use GUI. This could easily cut into interactive white board sales, because LG's "screen" wouldn't require a projector and costly replacement bulbs. I realize a TV cost more for the size, but that's a different argument.

... not to mention the "need" for a smartphone type device usable as remote control ... hello? :)

Exactly, with a touchscreen interface. Granted a lot of phones can be used as remote controls already, but a graphical interface remote control with touch might be compelling...slinging Angry Birds from the touchscreen interface while seeing the results on the big screen, changing channels with a swipe, etc...maybe I haven't thought this through very well, but it seems compelling.

webOS for life!!

interesting....

Ok LG here's what I'm looking for in a new TV:

> Touchscreen
> 1080p resolution @60Hz
> Voice controls by Vlingo
> Full WebOS access (as in the TV software and settings are launchable cards).
> Easily unlockable
> Physical & Virtual keyboard
> gesture area below the screen and before the use area of the physical keyboard
> 3 physical buttons and a mute switch
> Cellular service available (talk through LTE)
> Screen no larger than 5" and no smaller than 3"
> 5-7mm thick
> Micro USB multiport (support for hosting and HDMI out)
> Good camera around back and screen facing.
> Camera flash
> 15 hours of screen on min brightness battery life with an email client and IM client active
> Touchstone and the android equivalent support

That would make one awesome Smart TV!

> HP will continue to support Palm users.

Err what?
Well - I guess not-switching-off webos profile servers could be considered "support".

HP was the ONLY, LAST chance for webOS to compete in the mobile market, and by euthanizing it in public they way they did, in one day, there was never a chance at being a significant player ever again. They destroyed the value of a loved brand for the world to watch, and sadly, once that happened, there was never really any hope of competing again. Open source only offered a way to keep it legacy alive, and some semblance of its userbase, in the event that it might someday be "repurposed" in some other devices, in some niche somewhere. With the hope that some unknown business model might be able to provide some monetary value to the devalued assets, and to allow those of us who made it what it was, a chance to continue the legacy on our own.

And that's what happened today. webOS has officially been repurposed. And I actually think that this is positive news... Not because webOS has a new chance to suddenly, significantly compete in the mobile market, but because it means that it is at least, in the hands of a company that has a significant presence in the mobile industry. And while publicly declaring their intent on its use in a consumer goods industry, it is in the hands of a company that could be willing to consider it an asset worth expanding, and using to provide a differentiation of their products and ecosystem through their not insignificant market in a wide variety of consumer goods.

We haven't lost the lifeline of open source, so far. Lets face it, HP could never expect shareholders to ever again embrace webOS in name, except, (as they have done), under the much sexier guise of "Cloud Services". So now, it's in the hands of a company that can utilize it, and consider it an asset, without the stigma of an internal debacle. And this in itself, is probably the most liberating turn of events we could have hoped for our favorite OS.

I don't have high expectations for a new webOS smartphone next year. And I really don't know if I care enough about smart TV's to get excited yet. Perhaps webOS ports will be able to keep it viable as a mobile platform through the open source avenue. Perhaps LG will see it as a trump card (no pun intended), or at least as a resource to to be utilized to drive competitive advantage in more of their business units. We don't know what its new life will bring, but at least it's in the hands of some one who has a) placed a value on it, and b) has businesses that could directly develop it in a variety of directions, including even, the mobile space most of us are interested in.

Here's to enjoying the next chapter. No-ones going to stay because of the brilliant future of this development. But those of us who have working devices, and who love the webOS experience, can sit back and watch what the next chapter brings, and perhaps, we can still enjoy what we have, stay curious with what may come, and rejoice that "we're not dead yet". We still have a fantastic community, and this news does nothing to prove we're not still a valid community.

Long live webOS, whatever the platform, whatever open source brings, whatever ports we can accomplish, and whatever homebrew we can bring. Whatever the future, we still take interest in what this legacy may bring, so I say "Bring it on".

Well said. LG has a hedge against android now if the android market become a samsung lock with a few sales to motorola. (wonder how long google will keep motorola hardware going if it doesn't make sales). Meg/HP gets to point to some money made on the deal (erasing some of the 3 billion dollar loss on palm) , a strategic alliance with a real consumer company with a desire to compete in the market with tvs and possibly more. LG could try to build some interest in the south korean market with webos as a test. This purchase takes some sting away from the failure of webOS if only because a real company is serious about using it. I think LG at least has patience which HP never did.
I'm not expecting any mobile device anytime soon running weboS but at least webOS has some type of life. Which is better than the walking zombie it has been. (is it alive or dead? It's moving at least!)

LG is thinking in many things not only in TV's, They can use WebOS in more than one device, that's for sure and They know it, they must be know it!!

Long Live WebOS.

I boot my touchpad to webOS except to view my security cameras at 2 locations via proprietary IP cam android software. I also use a Pre3 phone every day. I think HP is the loser inasmuch as their investment of $1.2large went for naught... LG has a bargain & on fones this linux variant with slick interface can be a winner at last... Palm, live long & prosper !!

...if I ran the zoo & I had the whole design of the touchpad Preemie13 veer line I would put them out as is for test marketing... Lower cost for development (zilch) so why the hell not ??

I think this is great for webOS. It was always going to be an uphill battle getting it on a mobile device but this way people can discover webOS in a whole new way

***** Some signs of hope!!!!!

Taylor and LG's North American VP of smart TV Samuel Chang called me to rebut my earlier report on the company's purchase of webOS from HP, in which I wrote that LG seemed "hesitant and even confused" about its plans for the troubled operating system. That's not true, said Chang, who said that LG is "very confident webOS technology is a gamechanger when it comes to user experience." Chang said that he sees webOS and its underlying HTML-based Enyo framework as being key to solving the "fragmentation issue" with smart TVs that all have different platforms. As more and more content moves to the web, Chang said he thinks webOS will "really help bringing content back to smart TV, to tablets, PCs, other products."

**** More good news

What’s interesting is that Dr. Ahn also mentioned that Android could be used “together” with webOS in some capacity, though he says the “cards” UI of webOS may provide a better user experience overall. Could this mean that the next skinned version of Android coming out of LG will utilize the webOS-inspired card system? And how will this be applied to the smart TV? I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.

What do you expect the company that just bought WebOS to say? They must have some kind of vision for it or they wouldn't have bought it.

To me this is a moderate good news for now. Here is why:

Facts:
HP keep the webOS patents but have LG pay the money to develop the product that will run webOS.

Reason:
This is because HP has to fix their balance sheet first so not much R&D fund could be spent at the moment. Solution is to have a partner like LG to develop the hardware, TV, tablet or phone. This will keep the webOS platform evolve and build customer base without spending HP money.

For LG, they expect there will be one day Google close the door on Android, either for its own hardware business or for more revenue from Android. So relying on one OS is dangerous. WebOS is a safe backup and may give them more control on a mobile OS platform.

Future:
LG may develop more than just TV around webOS. Smart phone will be next, and HP may also choose LG as its webOS phone ODM/OEM manufacturer. Yes, if we will ever see HP offer a webOS phone, it may well be from LG. LG has very similar smart phone hardware R&D capability like Samsung, so is a good source of webOS phone hardware.

Why on earth would Google close the door on Android?

I liked the comment 'HP will continue to support Palm users'

What support!

Non-existent now!