Whitman: Google+Motorola could lead to closed source Android, drive manufacturers to webOS | webOS Nation
 
 

Whitman: Google+Motorola could lead to closed source Android, drive manufacturers to webOS 40

by Derek Kessler Wed, 15 Feb 2012 5:38 pm EST

Meg Whitman

HP CEO Meg Whitman took to the stage at HP's Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas today, and what she said was both encouraging and left us with our mouths hanging wide open. According to reports from the event, Whitman reiterated HP's commitment to webOS as an open source platform, stating that "it will take 2-5 years to fully play out" the impact of webOS on the mobile ecosystem. So HP is committed to webOS for the long haul, that's a good thing.

But then Meg went a little off the rails, suggesting that Google's now-approved purchase of Motorola Mobility could lead to Android going closed source in the future, opening the door to licensees for webOS. We'll be the first to admit that such a scenario is the dream sequence of events for HP and Microsoft, but it's not going to happen. The only way Google makes money off Android right now is by serving ads to mobile websites and through apps. That's it. Unless Google could dramatically grow Motorola device sales to cover the hundreds of thousands of daily activations Android sees today and in the future, Google has no reason to take Android closed source.

Now we have no doubt that Google is going to play a strong role in the development of Motorola's Android products going forward, and that no doubt will worry and irritate other Android licensees. Could that drive them to adopt Windows Phone and webOS to mitigate the risks posed by competing with a supplier? Sure, that could happen. But we don't see anything as drastic or insane as the closed source switch-up Whitman is suggesting.

Source: PCWorld, Business Insider

40 Comments

Suddenly she's an expert on things mobile?
This old hen talks a bit too much, IMO. She reminds me of that guy from Elevation Partners - McNamee (sp).

That's kind of harsh. Why dont you check back with us once your are a CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Agreed and crazier things have happened in the tech industry.

Dude, why constrain that to Tech Industry?

I once heard about a country which had a Movie Actor as President. Back in those years this was way, way, WAY too weird for me to comprehend.

Good one. People like to talk through their rear-end way too much.

I agree. But I'm also with "p41m3r" in that suggesting Google killing its own cow (closing access to Android) is too much of an statement. Actually, I'd like to have Meg's exact words on that, I don't think a person who has got this far in the industry can say something which is bordering childishness.

What's kind of harsh? That I likened her to a noisy hen? Well to all the offended, sorry if that was a bit close to home.

What does it mean to be a Fortune 500 CEO? That one is infallible? An expert by default? That he/she is on the straight and narrow, not having profits as the main dynamic? Or that one is not criminal at best? Obviously, some of you have bought the dogma and drank the Kool-Aid. Very well then! Fantasy it is!

This particular Fortune 500 company has had a few CEOs in the last 2 years. By the above metrics it should have had unmatched market caps by now; instead, it has shown the world how to capitulate and be the king of firesales... all while losing about half its worth. Today, someone who was a part of the mess and likely approved the bad decisions that the company made, is singing a different tune, and we're off once more dancing and getting drunk in fantasy land. As they say, the sheep will shear.

Here's a better idea: you guys should check back w/ us after consulting the numerous Apothekers, Paulsons, Corzines and Pandits of the world. Do it soon; we heard they were giving free rides on their pink unicorns.

EDIT:
this reply should be higher up; there was a hiccup somewhere (or maybe the server has revoked my Fortune 500 CEO privileges).

I liked Roger McNamee. He was passionate and a more effective communicator than Rubinstein. It's not his fault that Palm couldn't move fast enough to catch up to his mouth.

Don't wait for them to do it. Resume hardware development yourself or nothing you say can be taken seriously.

Amen, Brother. Amen!

Ultimately, this is exactly what HP has to do. The firesale TouchPads won't last forever and webOS phones are fading into memory. If HP wants webOS to come back as something more than a hobbyist project, it needs to build webOS hardware.

webos is too far behind right now to build devices for. Let's see what happens after 1.0 comes out. I think there is a market for another touchpad, it's pretty much HP's most popular device ever, but they need a least another 6-12 months to try and catchup to release something strong that will be well received.

I highly doubt Android will go closed source. It might become more regulated, but not closed. Also, its possible this could give Motorola an unfair advantage over other OEMs, which could lead to some of them trying the waters with WebOS and Windows Phone.

OT: This is the first time in a while that I've been on this site, and let me just say, the new look is gorgeous, guys!

You are right on spot. Google had to regulate Android, as the fragmentation might kill it. Or more precisely, poor implementations of it, like some manufacturers that just dump a vanilla Android on their devices, just to hurry them into market. HTC is an example of the contrary, for example.

You say "could lead to some of them trying the waters with WebOS and Windows Phone". The problem is: That choice is too easy and obvious. Sadly, these two systems are not comparable - the lovely visual aspect of webOS is not enough.

webOS can't wait for "others" to manufacture devices "maybe some day". If it's left without platform, then it's obvious hobby OS category. I guess our homebrew geniuses should hurry into making a proof of concept, putting webOS into an existing device immediately.

Wait, who's gonna pay them for that?

Wow. A CEO who actually cares enough to spread FUD about the competition. HP hasn't had that in a long time.

This is about fear.

Anyone competing with Google wants people to worry about Android. Worry about Google focusing on or favoring Motorola. Worry about fees and lawsuits and licensing charges for Android. Etc. The more fear, the less inclination to go with Android and the more inclination to look into alternatives.

It has nothing to do with Whitman not understanding the market or what Google will do. I'm sure she understands that just fine.

Very true, with Meg talking trash about Android and webos hitting public benchmarks every month things should be looking a lot better by the end of the summer. I'm sure other companies are watching with interest to see what webos turns into.

Meg knows HP can't compete with Levono and the Chinese manufacturers long-term on hardware and Leo's $10b Autonomy buy didn't impress investors so HP has a nice little fallback plan with its own OS.

Ummmmm.... What about Firefox's new mobile OS? Open source catering to developers.

For the first time ever since webOS came to existence I see a leader create fear in Android manufactures. I see a legit issue with licenses and patents.

LMAO - yeah, I'm sure Google are terrified.

If webOS had anything to bring to the table either functionally or through licensing and patents, they would have done it by now.

The first ever Whitman fanboy here!!

I think the Moto acquisition could be a mistake for Google, since it will then be essentially competing with it's licensee's.
I see a massive mobile earthquake on the horizon

I would like to believe Whitman is trying to stir the pot and drive investors into HP's arms but that kind of belief means I will have to believe in things like Santa, the tooth fairy, and twilight (shudders at the thought). I just don't have that kind of hope in me right now. Let me know when we are a year later and webOS actually has a foot in the door of a new device!

Derek you have had more to write about recently than you have in a long time. Must feel good.

Imma all warm and fuzzy.

ha ha! That Meg. What a character. Looney. But what a character.

At least she didn't go all #1 Plus on us. Glad to see she's thinking optimistically about webOS' future.

Whitman is exercising CEO hyperbole but they only need one hardware manufacturer who's not doing well in the crowded android market such as sony or lg or independent software powerhouse.. cough... Facebook...who is competing with Google's social media aspirations and wants an option to control its own destiny. Facebook couldn't risk buying webOS for > 1.2 billion dollars but may be willing to take the risk on webos if HP is doing most of the work. FB can customize webOS and ask an contract manufacturer to make them a phone.

I don't get this line of reasoning. You can't sell devices with android so you switch to a platform that has never shown it can sell devices for a profit. Not only that you're switching to a software platform by a company with little track record of making good consumer software over say Microsoft. Especially when pretty much every single problem that existed 6 months ago including lack of a media ecosystem, lack of a desktop syncing program, lack of app support still exist. Anyways Sony is pretty inept so i don't think they'd do well regardless of what platform they have. And hell if they bought it they wouldn't even know how to integrate it's departments.

Pure hilarity. HP believes so much in webOS that they refuse to make any hardware, reduce expenditures and staff, and place their mobile future on Windows 8.

We've been through this on the front page before. Supposedly all of these Android manufacturers who weren't making headway were interested in webOS when Palm went up for sale, but none of them bid except for Lenovo. Then, they were interested in licensing when HP bought it and Leo said anyone else could join in....except none of them did. Then, they had a chance after HP gave up.....and none of them took it.

If you suck as an Android manufacturer, you'll suck as a webOS manufacturer except that carriers won't care about your handsets and sales reps will steer customers away. Look at Windows

yep. Maybe Kyocera wants an OS. Nobody has mentioned them yet. lol. Bring on the Palm Echo 3D.

After reading all your comments, I'd say you people know mobile business pretty well! This is a great debate, one that should be heard in those executive meetings on 37th floor.

Wasn't she saying closed system:

"The industry needs another mobile OS. Apple is great, it's on fire, but IOS is a closed system. Google could end up that way with the purchase of Motorola, Android could end up being a closed system,"

Source: The Inquirer (http://s.tt/15Ihs)

That term "closed system" is a little different to "closed source" and i do not doubt that Android will be always open to all manufacturers, but seeing the moves in the last year google made, it seems it is steering towards a more closed model, away from searchengine to closed community google plus.
Canceling several Lab-Projects, buying of Motorola, surpressing google services for Opera users, popup messages to use chrome when browsing with Internet Explorer...

I could imagine that new Hardware- and Software-Features will be Motorola exclusive in the future (at least for some time), so i could think, that Meg not that far off the track.

It's against Google's business model with Android, which is to maintain a rich mobile operating system that anyone can install and use for free. This, in turn, puts plenty of eyes on Google products and services, which leads to piles of money. Google doesn't sell Android -- it sells ads. Google makes a ton of money every time a mobile device uses the Internet, because frankly, it's hard to get away from Google. No matter what smartphone brand you're using, Google is making money Google will make money from an open-source webOS, just like it does from a closed-source iOS. It makes even more money keeping an Android open-source OS available for partners to use. Like every company, including HP, Google likes lots 'o money.

We get it. You want more folks to adopt your $1.2 billion dollar baby. How about listening to your user base and adapting the software to fit their needs instead of FUD and scare-tactics? Of course, we've all done things in Vegas we might later regret ...
By Jerry Hildenbrand
he couldn't of said it better

How about listening to your user base and adapting the software to fit their needs instead of FUD and scare-tactics?

Indeed. Also, how about eating your own dog food. I mean, how does HP go around claiming how and why people will flock to their OS when they themselves have moved on to a different OS?

I was under the impression that HP moved on to ADD another OS. Can you point me to an article that states that webOS will no longer be in use at HP?

Dog food indeed.

You're correct. Stating they will be in the tablet business with Windows 8 while handing webOS over to the community (and hoping Android will fail and cause people to "consider" it in half a decade) is all irrelevant. Going from a position of "webOS on everything including phones, laptops, toasters" to one of life support while actively developing hardware for another OS means nothing.

See you in half a decade when Android has failed, iOS no longer matters and the world is celebrating the launch of the birth of the brand new rebirth of the relaunch of the soft launch of webOS.

Exciting times ahead!

This is exactly what's going to happen. Apple will cause Android to require licensing fees due to patent infringement (Steve warned them in 2007 that he had patented the hell out of iPhone, and would go tooth and nail after poachers.

Giigle will build the cutting edge Android phones at the Moto Mobility labs in the Apple fashion (own the hardware and the software) while leaving their now-loyal manufacturers flopping around like fish out of water.

It's a good time to be webOS. Open, free, and most importantly, not under attack.

I actually am what could be considered a near fortune 500 company. (unpublished) Anyway on to the topic, Android will never be closed source. The lines of closed source are being misunderstood. Apple and Android are both open source. People have gotten reckless with their definition of open source OS. Just because they don't let you do whatever you want and make a mess out of the phone and its applications doesn't mean its not open. Some of the apps including the WebOS nation follow little uniform structure. Specifically, notifications. WebOS and its people need to stop pretending there's nothing wrong with what they've done so far. They haven't even been able to get mainstream applications developers to spend a week or two to transfer their applications over to the OS. Either they've made it too difficult, the software is faulty or inadequate, or people really must dislike the OS. The real issue with HP and Palm is this, its a Republican idea for a company and its run by low-end versions of democrats that get by on the Republican (uniform) idea and continuously tries to expand on it until its diluted and washed into a mess. The only thing HP has ever done is lower the bar on others and make good off is turn-key operation of simplistic ideas. I like the idea of the OS but its not open. Its the only company I've seen that uses primarily international developers from European nations and has the least development out of any company. How open they want it to be is impossible. Unless they are going to pay for people to go to school its not happening they way they want it to. As they most typically do they talk to keep the company sounding viable and to keep their versions of people hired. As long as the idea of the company stands almost anyone in these fields can make it lucrative. The shameful and sad fact is, it takes a Genius to screw it up. More specifically, the faults are often designed to hide their agenda and it comes down to a female trying to be an Angela Merkel wannabe (chancellor). Even the development software is the same. They make the applications simplistic and user friendly, yet they create the UI for developer software that is incredibly difficult to learn do to its intentional method of a distorted form of complexity to bar anyone from creating an application.

My issue is becoming the fact that I have had atleast 2 or 3 major ideas for applications that have been developed and used ( and i have hundreds of innovative ideas) only to find that I cannot create the applications due to the time and cost to do so based on the fact that companies have designed their software to protect their own people. (most commonly people who have no life and undercut society or nierds for a lack of a better term) Apple and Google can get away with this as its simplistic enough and able out put large amounts of people to develop it. Palm however knew they were short handed and decided to run in an opposite direction. They have confused simplicity with short-coming. Finally you know the application "Bump" for iOS , yeah that was my idea and was more appropriate for Blackberry native integration but with the access iOS gives to developers it made sense to make it for the iPhone. I still say the ideas and designs are the most integral part, we can always produce developers with an injection of cash, but without upheld ideals we have the current state of the WebOS as an example of what that does.

Whitman is ridiculous. She talks smack about Apotheker as if he did everything wrong, but she admits she stood behind all of his decisions, including scrapping the Touchpad. Remember HP, under Whitman's direction, just laid off 1/2 off their remaining webOS workforce. Does this sound like a woman who has a "grand design plan" for the operating system? Hardly.

Don't get me wrong - I own a Touchpad and I love it. But hey - since webOS is freeware now - doesn't that mean that basically any manufacturer can use it without HP's permission? Please - correct me if I'm wrong.

So if by some miracle webOS does gain traction against Android/iOS/Windows devices (it won't - but for argument's sake let's say it does) - what is stopping another manufacturer from implementing it in one of their own devices? Again - I by no means, am a patent lawyer so would really like to know the answer to this.

Kevin

I'm thinking there is more support for the recent Ubuntu/Linux port unfortunately than there is for webOS: http://techie-buzz.com/foss/canonical-ubuntu-for-android.html