Qualcomm CEO a webOS fan, would hate to see it go away (nudge nudge, wink wink) | webOS Nation

Qualcomm CEO a webOS fan, would hate to see it go away (nudge nudge, wink wink) 74

by Derek Kessler Wed, 14 Sep 2011 10:38 am EDT

webOS fans have been in a world of drifting recently, wondering who – if anybody – will be around to make webOS devices or take charge of the operating system from HP. Samsung’s already bowed out and HTC’s comments of shopping for an OS of their own recently stirred the pot, but there are a number of potential dark horse candidates in the race that could make for an intriguing match. Case in point: Qualcomm.

The dominant mobile chip maker builds the Snapdragon processors that power a large chunk of the mobile space, including the HP TouchPad and the chips in the Pre3 and Veer. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, speaking at IQ2011, lamented HP’s decision to shut down webOS device hardware development:

“We worked very closely with HP on webOS – we’re all waiting to see exactly what happens. HP has talked about not making devices with it, but then talked about spinning off the PSG. It’s really a little up in the air at the moment. We do like the idea that webOS would continue, we put a lot of effort into that relationship and it’s a nice OS. More choice is better for developers. But it’s really HP’s call at the moment.”

Jacobs also discussed the web-based frameworks that underpin webOS, pointing out that it in a way aligned with Qualcomm’s own vision of a web-centric mobile future. Jacobs neither confirmed nor denied speculation that Qualcomm might be interested in webOS, but unlike the other potential suitors, Qualcomm wouldn’t be a likely licensee. Manufacturers license an OS so they can build hardware that runs it, and building hardware is not something Qualcomm does or has expressed interest in doing. If they want webOS, it’s to own it and develop it as their own platform to license out in conjunction with their chipsets.

Of course, that would put Qualcomm in a unique position where they create the chips that are used across Windows Phone, Android, and webOS devices while pushing their own webOS operating system. It’s a bit of a conflict of interest, but not one that we can say we’ve seen before. It’s also worth pointing out that Qualcomm does have some experience in the operating system game already – they’ve been developing the BREW dumbphone platform since 2001. BREW is nowhere near the quality and capability of webOS, but if there’s an opportunity for Qualcomm to expand beyond basic phone operating systems into the higher profit and growing markets of smartphones, webOS might be it.

Source: SlashGear; Thanks to chalx for the tip!


maybe he doesnot want webOS to go away because that is one less customer for them in this hard race w Samsung, TI and even intel. I have to say if webOS need to survive and get better, they would have to atleast add another 3K engineers to their team. With only 600 engineers one dont make a system that runs well on PCs, tablets, cars, fridges, and 3 different kind of phones. WebOS has a great or the best UI, but you can see also see how much it lacks when you go in depth of the system. So however buys webOs please be aware in order to compete w Apple and windows 8 we dont need to double up but maybe 5-7 times up on webOS.

I think I read that Android has only 300 engineers.

The more I think about this, the more I feel that it would be in Qualcomm's best interest to purchase webOS.

First, this week's recent announcements of Android running on intel chips only puts Qualcomm at more competition with other chip manufacturers.

Second, as a manufacturer of hardware, Qualcomm would have the best know-how on tuning and running their hardware with exceedingly great efficiency.

Qualcomm might want to think twice about passing up on an opportunity like this. Many mobile manufacturers are starting to realize the apple model - make your hardware with your own os. This could not only save webos, but save Qualcomm in more ways that one.

Except Qualcomm isn't a mobile manufacturer.

Ask Intel how "owning" Meego (which is scalable, like WebOS, to phones, tablets, and laptops) is helping them as a chip maker.

You just gave a typical non-technical manager answer. " I have to say if webOS need to survive and get better, they would have to atleast add another 3K engineers to their team"
Every manager I've ever had that has not been an engineer always seems to think the answer is to throw more bodies at the problem.
Very common/amateur mistake

But maybe he's truly a bit webOS fan. I admit that my initial thoughts almost always going that way.

About those 600 Engineers, "only"...

Recently someone in the dev forum reminded me about a book that I read quite some time, ago. It's called "The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering" Fred Brooks in which he did a statement that we know nowadays as "Brook's law".

"Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later."

Having such an amount of "engineers" in such a project, means that something is seriously wrong.

The more of these rumors I read, the more I think it's over. We're grasping here, folks. Sadly.

I tend to agree. WebOS, and the rumors/campaign/plight to find a hardware savior for the platform, are really starting to sound desperate - and therefore, more and more unattractive.

"Someone please buy me!" makes one tend to wonder what's wrong with the product that the seller has to practically beg for potential buyers.

Don't get me wrong, I love the platform as much as most of the rest of us here (and want to continue using it as long as possible), but the desperation makes me cringe.

yeah, these are getting more and more frantic and nonsense.

I've tried to read this quote left to right, right to left, up-down and back, and I cannot see a SINGLE WORD that would suggest that they are even considering anything near taking over webOS.

It seems that whatever company's upper echelon folks use a keyword "webOS" in their public speech (even in the context "we are sorry, we have invested a lot in this relationship, and are not happy that HP have screwed us too, but hey, that's their call"), that company is straight away pronounced "possibly interested", and "possible suitor"... How ridiculous.

Sad, sad. Hey, did I said already, how I hate HP?

Agreed. This community should go into gardening. With all the straws they've gathered lately, there should be enough to make some pretty impressive scarecrows.

Agreed, precentral is flogging a dead horse.


I know everyone has a hate-on for HP and everyone supposedly loves webos, but NO ONE WAS BUYING WEBOS DEVICES. They couldn't _give_ the pre2 away on contract.

HP is a business! And WebOS devices are a very small part of what HP does. You hate all of HP because of their decision to kill something that HP (or your beloved Palm BTW) couldn't make viable? WebOS devices failed as a business venture, why would they continue? I know I wouldn't.

I agree there was some crazy bungling of the announcements and the perception of HP's direction that seemed very unprofessional and really poorly thought out, but It's quite illogical to think they would just keep filling warehouses full of webos devices for the tens of webos fans on precentral.

"I know everyone has a hate-on for HP and everyone supposedly loves webos, but NO ONE WAS BUYING WEBOS DEVICES. They couldn't _give_ the pre2 away on contract. "

...and who in his right mind would commit himself for next 24 months to a dying platform, getting for free extremely sub-par hardware?

Pre3 should have been released instead of Pre2, or at very last instead of stupid Veer, with accompanying massive marketing campaign. Pre2? Are you joking? That phone was rehashed Pre+, that was barely rehashed Pre-, that had acceptable/mainstream, but not flagship specifications TWO YEARS AGO.

HP was trying with all their might to demonstrate that they are completely clueless regarding webOS and it's future. It kept people at bay, as well.

Those are the true reasons why webOS is dead, and not webOS itself.

So arguments like "well, hard to blame HP, they have business to run, so they did what they did, because it was rational and reasonable..." My answer is:

For thousand times, NO!!! HP did **** this immensely. They haven't done ONE SINGLE THING right, since purchasing Palm.

That's why they deserve every bit of hate they are getting, and then some more, IMHO.

HP might have had a long-term plan at some point or another, but once they decided to get out of the hardware business, why would they dump another dime into WebOS?

They're continuing to release monitors, PCs, and printers because those are profitable ventures they can see money from NOW, even if they are ending them soon. WebOS wouldn't have made money - in the best case scenario - for another 12-18 months, if that.

webos devices are victims of a strategy change.

After deciding to get out of consumer hardware it indeed makes no sense to keep investing in a smartphone platform.

In 2010 HP wanted to be like Apple - and for that they needed a smartphone/tablet platform.

In 2011 HP rather would like to be like IBM.

Before all that HP wanted to be like Dell.

Look forward to a Grand New Vision in 2013 (new CEO included).

HP did do their homework and had a plan. But that was half a year ago when Hurd was still running the company. He's the one that believed in WebOS. The problem is the company changed CEOs, and the new one is an idiot taking the company in an entirely different direction than it was set up to go in. Leo needs to be fired. Badly.

"WebOS devices failed as a business venture, why would they continue? I know I wouldn't."

because those who have used webOS realize that with a little more work, it could be a strong competitor to iOS. Many people who use webOS today do not like the look and feel of Android and many don't like Apple.

... you asked

A little more work, eh?

3 OS iterations. A tablet. 5 different phones. A nationwide multimillion dollar ad campaign with celebrities galore.

What more do you propose be done?

Exactly. webOS has needed "a little more work" since 2009. At this point, "a little more work" is just an excuse; an overused excuse.

It's not an excuse - it's an explanation.

Palm simply didn't have the resources left to make webos successful. Marketing, broadening international sales, etc...

HP did have those resources, but then decided they didn't want to be in the consumer business. And after that decision there is indeed no point in investing in a consumer hardware platform.

It's an excuse, NOT an explanation.

Palm didn't have the resources to push far...but every single place it managed to reach was met with failure. And not just "dang it, we missed it by this much" failure. No, it was "we just got ran over by a train while trying to cross the track" failure. It had a 6 month exclusive on Sprint and did so poorly that Sprint refused to take on any additional "revisions".

HP did have those resources, but decided to pull the plug AFTER being met with multiple failures (Pre 2, Veer, multiple launches and price drops on the TouchPad, lack of interest in the Pre 3 by the very carriers many claimed would have to accept products from a company with such scale). I remember silly posts claiming that HP will use it's SMS technology to force carriers to accept their products. Best Buy told HP to come get their "product" back because it simply was not a "best buy".

Then HP pulls the plug and people say "that's" why it failed...as if it was so successful before that single event. Even the great HP said it would take too much of an investment to with not a high enough chance of success, so they are bowing out. Then you come here and agree that "a little more work" is an "explanation". Seems HP saw the need for "a LOT more work"...too much more, in fact.

Exactly. HP had been exploring licensees well before the August meltdown. No takers.

Even when Palm was up for sale in 2010, the competing bidders that HP beat out simply wanted to carve out the patents and some UI features.

Every WebOS product including the Touchpad has been a sales failure. Neither Palm nor HP was able to make a SINGLE device that sold as well as even the Palm Centro (over two million in less than 12 months), which was a cheap, last gasp handset using a declining, never-updated OS.

Some people here just won't admit it to themselves: This will never be a profitable or popular/viable platform. It launched half-baked, and it will stay half-baked.

"Even when Palm was up for sale in 2010, the competing bidders that HP beat out simply wanted to carve out the patents and some UI features"

...and this statements is based on your belief (that you think makes it equal to a fact), or do you have some insights into what is discussed in the board rooms of likes of HTC???

How about release those devices in a timely fashion and give them some time on the market? Touchpad out for 2 months. Pre 3 never got out. Veer yes was out but was a bad choice given market direction on larger devices. If HP releases devices late, how can you expect sales? webOs division did good work but was way too slow for this hypercompetitive market. If HP didn't have confidence in selling their products then they should have tried to be online and fewer brick and mortar stores in smaller numbers. Instead they pushed slowly in all markets and pulled the plug even while new international markets were just being introduced. That's stupid. Why didn't they try harder in enterprise? They made some noises then pulled that plug too. And that was their strength or used to be.

At what point do you stop throwing good money after bad and realize your mistake? Besides, it's not just webos devices, they are getting rid of the entire PSG.

Yes, you look a bit like a fool for buying a house with a leaky roof, bad plumbing and rats in the basement, but its nothing a good fire(sale) can't fix...

@prenutt, Apple has never been #1 in laptops.

HP never really *tried* to sell Pre2.

AFAIK there never was a marketing campaign for the Pre2. In Europe it was only available in QWERTY (restricting it to UK) and almost only via direct ordering from HP.

The Veer is a fine phone - as an additional option for a particular niche. Any claims about the popularity of webos and/or portrait slider devices before the Pre3 is available and marketed is just baseless. We don't know how it would have sold.
It's certainly selling like hotcakes now. And I'm not talking about the firesale price - I'm talking about the 250 ebay price - for a device with a comatose/murdered platform and no ads.

I bought a Pre3 via ebay and it is great.

Of course HP is in this business to make a profit. But let's remember that they are trying to get rid of almost *all* their consumer hardware business. webos devices are victims to a strategy change. If HP had interest to still really compete in consumer hardware then giving up on webos before Pre3 and TP2 were out would have been stupid and short-sighted. Talking about a marathon is the right attitude when you plan to play in this market.

The Veer was hampered by being marketed by itself. The TP was hampered by being marketed without the Pre3 being available and using last years cancelled windows tablet hardware.

If you want to become the next Apple - either invest in a couple of years of building the platform - or don't bother getting into the race.

If Google had stopped Android after the G1 it never would have become the Nr 1 smartphone platform.


Now if we only had a gif showing Derek giving CPR to a dead horse!

the dead horse should have a WEBOS brand on its butt as well :)

Agreed - really? Qualcomm buys/licenses webOS? why not speculate that Intel or AMD might pick it up?

In the words of George Bush - not-gonna-do-a

We need an HTC or LG to buy/license webOS. That's it. To quote Princess Leia: "HTC, you're our only hope!"

With as much dignity as he could muster, the Old Man gathered up the sad remains of his shattered major award. Later that night, alone in the backyard, he buried it next to the garage. Now I could never be sure, but I thought that I heard the sound of "Taps" being played, gently.

So, Derek, is this your prediction? :-)

Derek Kessler sure loves to speculate, eh? And report it as an actual event.

Gotta get those page hits or be "Nokia Experted".

aka Windows Phoned home

Qualcomm has always been mentioned as a possible suitor. They are really increasing their branding efforts of late with Snapdragon and trying to become more than just another ARM-licensee chip maker. They never just design an ARM reference chip - they always try to add their special design sauce to the their ARM-ish designs. They have ambition, and I could see them wanting WebOS. Like Intel, they want to get in the smartphone market. Intel's announcement yesterday with Google that Google will work to make Android work on Intel's chip may kill the idea of Intel buying WebOS. However, Intel also is extremely tight with Microsoft. Apple is probably moving all of their laptops long term away from Intel to their own A series ARM chips.
The most interesting is his commments about WebOS being uncertain right now. As I read his comments, what he is saying is that although HP has decided to quit WebOS hardware, HP is also saying they want to spinoff PSG. I read that has his saying that spinoff creates an opportunity for PSG to make WebOS hardware. Remember, Todd Bradley is lobbying hard to run the PSG if it gets spun off. As the former CEO of Palm, does anyone think that Todd Bradley wants to see WebOS die? Also, think that maybe HP would give the new PSG a free license to use WebOS in its hardware? Without a Leo and Ray Lane, I could easily see them doing that.
We all know that Qualcomm's CEO has talked to Tom Bradey, Jon Rubenstein, and Stephen DeWitt. I read that to say that it has bee hinted that if PSG gets spun, WebOS hardware is back on.

i keep reading more and more about webOS being purchased. maybe the more it is talked about, someone really will purchase it and help Palm rise to its full potential!!! i don't care who buying it, just as long as a new phone is release with webOS before my Pre2 dies... i'm giving up on the idea Pre3 will ever be available in the US AND on Verizon...

The more I read the more I feel like everyone, including the internal teams at HP and what once was Palm, were blindsided by the decisions of the HP execs. It really shows a complete lack of leadership on their part.

Sounds like a CEO that would like to keep selling processors. So what else is new?

It's inevitable that meaningful news about webOS will slow to a trickle. Precentral is like a little world where webOS is still relevant while the rest of the mobile universe consolidates their focus to the platforms that actually have new hardware coming.

Hey I heard a bum on the corner is a "fan of webOS" maybe he will buy it out! LOL! These stories are only getting worse........ It's over! People need to move on.

What "nudge nudge wink wink" is there to glean from this? HP isn't selling WebOS. If Qualcomm licensed it, it'd be on cheap, junky, nondescript dumbphone hardware that would be a downgrade from even the plastic-y devices we see now, and developers wouldn't flock to it any more than they do BREW.

This would be what you could expect: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/05/htc-freestyle-carries-the-brew-mp-dum...

But it's better than scraping up "tips" for page hits, I guess?

Read this interview from Lane, seems to say they love webOS and want to keep webOS and license it to HTC, Samsung etc...


Except he doesn't actually say that (about licensing to HTC and Samsung) - it's simply something you are reading into the situation.

Well, the venerable 6502 CPU was used by Commodore in some of their computers, but they also sold it to Apple, Atari and other companies that were their competitors...

So I see no trouble in Qualcomm designing their own platform, or even customizing webOS to suit their needs, while selling their chipsets to other manufacturers...

While that quote is quite interesting, considering higher-ups rarely get publicly sentimental about floundering platforms, the better part of this article is more wishful thinking than it is factual.

I'm still waiting for Qualcomm's Mirasol displays to get past their vaporware status when they promised products using it years ago. If they got a hold of webOS, we'd never see it again.

Just another fan, probably like me, who wants to like it, but can't. Everybody is in this boat. There is no future for WebOS. I thought the touchpad would make webos shine, but it just shows the same weaknesses it had on my pre- phone. It's time to quit working on it and jump on board with the big boys.

I feel like WebOS is like Saab. Just barely holding on.

strong ride thou

I wonder about all the nay-sayers on this blog.

Why are you even here if you’re not hopefully optimistic about the future of webOS?

If you’re done you’re done, move on, why do you watch this blog if you’re just going to be negative?

There will always be big ugly trolls on the internet and you can typically see them plain as day, and I also want to be realistic about where our platform is right now, (btw, hp get off your butt and tell us what you intend to do!) but I also hold out hope that in the next year or so we will start to see more products coming from someone that can catch the vision of webOS.

I’m hoping that I won’t have to port over windows 8 on to my touchpad and phone.
Thanks Derek for the hopeful articles, I’m constantly checking this blog looking for things that may crop each day to find out what’s going to happen.

You need to get real mate. I like webOS as much as the next man, was a day 1 Pre owner in the UK, Day 1 Pre 2 owner and Day 1 Touchpad with all accessories and Pre 3 pre-ordered owner. Where did that get me? Out a feckin' mint, no apps worth a **** and about 5KG of plastic.

I just ordered a Samsung Focus from the US, it's quad band so will get 3G here. Mango just about to be released, talk of the next devices abounds, support from devs is nailed on.

That's not being a troll, I guarantee I have spent more time and money on webOS than 95% of the posters here, including you, but it is being realistic. Think forward 12 months. Will this site exist? Will it ****

Why are you here then?

There's a difference between negative and realistic. Likewise, there's a difference between positive and delusional.

It's not negative to say that just because I bought a ticket, I am extremely unlikely to win Powerball tonight. Likewise, it's not negative to say that just because HP says it plans to explore other avenues with WebOS that these flimsy articles that try to implicate Qualcomm or Samsung or whoever as "possible suitors" are extremely unlikely to come to pass for all of the reasons being expressed in these comments.

This requirement of being "hopefully optimistic" at all costs and being willfully oblivious to what's actually going on is precisely why this "blog" has no credibility even among fans of WebOS. Good luck illegally "porting" Windows 8 to your Touchpad, tho.

again, why are you here on this blog if it's irrelevant?

Searching my post for the word "irrelevant" or a synonym......

Nope. I said no such thing. Also, I love how you ask a guy who's spent several hundred dollars on WebOS devices why he is here at a WebOS blog.

why are you here then?

if I bought a copy of windows 8 to put on my touchpad computer how would that be illegal?

Because there won't be a copy of Windows 8 to be "sold" for ARM devices. it will come preinstalled on the device and be tuned by the manufacturer.

But don't let me dissuade you. The TouchPad specs are the bare minimum for Windows 8 and the 1ghz processor will be a bottleneck, so you'd get the crappy experience you deserve.

well thanks for the hate then.


BTW - A little off topic. My family has realized that the TouchPad is a perfect Fantasy Football tool. Watch the games live and see the stats on your favorite web site - even if its got flash.

I am looking forward to where HP is going to take webOS. Hopefully, something works out to where there is a viable dev environment to make money in.


yes, we see that the letter 't' works on your device :)

I have to post something in my frustration to all this. Just kidding.
No, don't know what it is but unless I post something it won’t display anymore comments or refresh when I hit the refresh button and then I try to delete the characters and then they won’t delete. I have to close my browser page in order to get it to refresh.

First off, as I understand it, there is nothing to buy. HP has already split off the software part of webos and buried it somewhere in their version of area 51. Doesn't matter who says what, HP hasn't put the OS/IP up for sale.

Second, why would any hardware manufacturer (Samsung, HTC, etc) want to buy webos? They have android and Apple's sue-happiness isn't exactly a reason to abandon it (yet). Also, why would a hardware maker want to take on all the responsibilities of supporting software and an ecosystem (app stores, accessories, etc)? They get all that for free with android.

Third, a chip-maker? Really? I'm glad I'm not the only commenter who sees the folly in this hypothesis.

Qualcomm can optimize their chips for the javascript OS makes perfect sense...

YOur definetly not. This is alot of grasping at straws

i think qualcomm buying webos could be a start of something beautiful something new

Even if this rumor doesn't come true this is an interesting concept and some day may be what it comes down to with the war between chip makers, having the ability to build your OS and chip to fit each other is a HUGE bonus rather than compile a chip for each OS/ a version of the OS per chip.

I think it would be a limitation rather than a bonus. A chip maker may know plenty about making chips but they are not the guys that immediately pop to mind when it comes to knowing what the appliance that uses the chip should do for consumers.

"HP has talked about not making devices with it"

Um, no sir they have not talked about it -- they announced it to the world! Did you miss the newspaper that day?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today that it can neither confirm nor deny the rumors that the Minnesota Vikings are interested in purchasing webOS from HP.

Technically, Qualcomm does already made and retail a mobile device :)

The MDP --