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