Whitman thinks webOS "has huge advantages" over iOS and Android | webOS Nation

Whitman thinks webOS "has huge advantages" over iOS and Android 46

by Derek Kessler Thu, 02 Feb 2012 9:55 pm EST


Meg Whitman is the fourth CEO of HP since the Silicon Valley giant acquired Palm less than two years ago. Each CEO has sought to leave their mark on the company, some more indelibly than others, and Whitman has been busy at work since taking over in September righting the HP ship and getting HP back to something resembling its roots.

For one, Whitman has brought the entire executive team down a notch (or seven), going so far as to move them out of the executive suite and into an 'open seating framework,' otherwise known as cubicles. Said Whitman in an interview with CRN, she "could sit in that executive suite all day and not see [HP CFO] Cathie Lesjack… the conversations over the cubicle wall are the conversations that really matter." She also eliminated the executive parking lot and its "commando fence with barbed wire". Whitman's taking a page out of the Bill Hewlett and David Packard playbook, bringing bits of The HP Way into the modern day.

Whitman also commented on webOS, acknowledging that it's been "a very rocky period" for the webOS team and that they’ve lost some good people due to the situation over the last several months. A good part of that rocky decision was that "there was no plan," thanks in large part to her predecessor's decision to pull the plug on webOS hardware and attempt to sell the software. But now, they have a plan and are executing on it.

But what we're really interested in is where she sees webOS going, and how HP's going to make that happen. Said Whitman:

"[webOS] has huge advantages, in my view, over iOS, which is a closed system, [and] Android, which is incredibly fragmented and may ultimately be more closed with [Google's] acquisition of Motorola Mobility."

Now, we're not ones to disagree with the premise of this assessment, but we're also not ones to call this openness a "huge advantage." It's possible Whitman was referring to other parts of webOS that she sees as having a leg up on the competition (we might say such things about Enyo, for example), but the fragmentation of Android has not scared off any manufacturers or carriers nor has the closed nature of iOS frightened away scores of customers. These are things that the manufacturers and carriers embrace and customers tend not to care about. In fact, the fragmentation of Android, while hampering to many devices over the long haul, gives customers greater choice.

"Open source yet not fragmented" is, in our view, not going sell a lot of devices. webOS has a great many talking points - smooth and efficient multitasking, the best notificatiosn in the business, Enyo, Just Type, and so forth, that Palm and HP have failed to market effectively for three years. IF you want to sell devices and convince partners to use Open webOS, emphasize those points.

Source: CRN; Thanks to fxspec06 for the tip!


Good article. I agree with Ms. Whitman AND with your final point.

Woohoo I was the tipster -- not only that but I beat @HPNews by almost 2 hrs =)

I won't have too much time to be doing much webOS development this semester, but I will still be keeping a close eye on things and working on a side project. It'll be interesting to see how Enyo 2.0 plays out and if OS webOS 1.0 is as good as I hope it's going to be.

Happy to hear some fresh webOS news lately..


Meg impresses me more and more. She Gets It, in many areas.

webOS continues to phoenix ...

"webOS continues to phoenix ..."

Wow. What are you smoking man?

She picked her words. She thinks webOS has huge advantages over iOS and Android, but the OS that HP will really put its money behind for tablets is Windows 8. I wonder what she has to say between Windows 8 and webOS.

I want some of what she is smoking. My touchpad is a lot more useful with Android on it. Both for class and work.

I REALLY want to know what they did in the executive partaking lot. I'll bet there was slaking going on - lots and lots of slaking.

GD auto correct.

What's slaking? lol

"smooth and efficient multitasking, the best notificatiosn in the business, Enyo, Just Type, and so forth, that Palm and HP have failed to market effectively for three years. IF you want to sell devices and convince partners to use Open webOS, emphasize those points."

they've had and been emphasizing it already for 3 years. it will take more then merely emphasizing them. That's been done already.They didn't fail simply because of marketing. Marketing was adequate. They failed because people liked other products a lot more. They need to bring new stuff to the table because multitasking doesn't sell devices.

if all an open source webos brings to the table is the same old features it already had that didn't sell units (multitasking,notifications, etc) It's not gonna be more then a hobbyist OS.

To add to your point not only has android fragmentation "not scared off any manufacturers or carriers" more importantly consumers don't care about it and it's basically going to end with 4.0 so even if it was an advantage it won't be in September. But again consumers don't care.

> they've had and been emphasizing it
> already for 3 years

Well, they, and us too! But Synergy is missing from that statement, and it's VERY important... and underused.

> They failed because people liked other
> products a lot more. They need to bring
> new stuff to the table because multitasking
> doesn't sell devices.

I agree that repating the same old selling points takes nowhere. It only helps in making you look uncompetitive.

Our fate is, indeed, becoming yet another hobbyist system. Very legitimate and educating, but unprofitable. For how long is HP going to pay engineers that bring no revenue?

The only true way forward is making devices again. Without it, as of now, all that remains from webOS is... Yet another JavaScript toolkit.

True and i'm sure there are others things in addition to Synergy. That said, they had synergy before as well. they emphasized that before. it's not enough. Small point too, Derek in one post a while back pointed out that synergy was licensed from someone and likely may need to be removed from open source so it may not actually be a selling point. And there is Regardless, you can't bring old stuff to the table like its something new and expect different results. If that's all they bring they'll continue to fail spectacularly.

I say the hobbyist thing as a negative because it's not something i'm gonna do. That's not really my thing: tinkering with operating systems.

I'm not sure there is a way forward at all honestly. At least not to a mainstream popular device that i can buy in a sprint store. But i've always thought webos should have been licensed so another way forward could be to get others to make the hardware. As opposed to HP. Then again i kinda think that time has long passed.

honestly, as a user and sometimes contributor of lesser used open source software, I think open source is really the pest way for webOS to go. The real benefit here is that it is almost impossible for good open software to really die. Combine that with the fact that webOS is already based in large part on open technologies, and this ensures webOS has a future, and that they don't actually need to maintain every part of the software stack.

in my opinion, the differentiating factors between webOS and its competitors are few. I like my Galaxy S II and my iPad, but I am writing this from my HP touchpad, and not through Android, though I have it. This is mostly because it is EASY in a way no other platform is. I can control my tablet with little effort, so I use it. True, most of what I do is online or email, but the app selection (minus netflix) is good enough to keep me happy. Plus, using Bluetooth, WiFi, and changing my screen brightness is quick and easy.

Honestly I really think if Dalvik (the android java framework apps run in) was ported to webOS, the only legitimate complaint I can think of against webOS would be solved. The other improvement I would welcome is better text selection.

Synergy is all great and nice for the WebOS device, but what my GS2 is missing in Synergy, is more than being made up by allowing my PC's to be an active part of my PIM process. Even more so than PalmOS had been. I haven't punted up Palm Desktop in nearly two months. WebOS is too selfish when it comes to extending your PIM experience beyond the wireless devices.

While surely some people preferred other devices (the biggest reason being the availability of certain apps) marketing was *not* adequate and a big part of the fail.

To this day most people are not really aware that webos exists. Much less what it's distinguishing features are.

And I don't remember a single ad that - for example - mentioned Touchstones.

Mutlitasking by itself, alone - I agree doesn't sell devices (not in great numbers).

But it's part of a set of features that together make webos a superior OS.

And HP never even tried to market the best webos device they ever built - the Pre3. HP was mainly interested in tablets - which made them neglect the smartpone and they underestimate how these go together. Apple made a big success out of the IPad *after* they sold tons of IPhones. A tablet is nice - but it is also an extra computer that most people don't really need. A phone OTOH is now almost a must-have device.

i disagree. i think marketing is a convenient excuse so you don't have to blame shortcomings of the OS, as you mentioned lack of apps, a lack of updates to lackluster native apps, and one dimensional hardware.

The Pre 3? I wasn't interested in the Pre 2 let alone the Pre 3. It was more of the same. I'm sorry i disagree, the Pre 3 would not have been any big seller. And no marketing foolery would have made it cool.

A superior OS? One, i disagree. But superior is merely a matter of opinion and taste. Two, being a superior OS doesn't matter because people still bought other devices. If it was superior and that mattered people wouldn't be buying Android phones.

iphones ipads and other devices all sell well before ads even come out. Which hurts any argument that the reason they failed is marketing. If the product was good enough it wouldn't need it. but they had press conferences, ads with celebrities, signs all over, commercials with glee people and boxers. billboards, subway signs, buses full of billboards. It's an excuse to me. Like blaming the Best Buy sales people, or the displays locations, or whatever.

And I don't remember a single ad that - for example - mentioned Touchstones.

There were promotions. I don't recall them going over well though. Here's a series that almost always started off with the Pre on a touchstone (too bad it was never plugged in).


Do you think Derek can write one post without linking to his "HP Has Neither Balls Nor Brains" article? I don't.

Irony acknowledged. But that article from Derek was very good and on spot.

I agree 100%

Well, WebOS DID but other OS's have already caught up (or ripped-off) and passed the point we are at now. IMO it's the Internals team keeping it alive (and everyone else in the forums).

.... it's the [webOS] Internals team keeping it alive (and everyone else in the forums).

I guess that AND the positive movements by Meg.

Well, responding to the questions on tablets she didn't mention a possible webos tablet, referred to webos as an "alternative os" and sold windows 8 pretty hard.

She seemed ok with webos losing people, which probably means they're letting the team shrink through attrition. If they don't lay anyone off and actually keep 400+ people working on it they may be able to do something decent by the end of the year. Of course they'll be spending a lot of time just porting the closed source code to open in the next few months, which probably means that version 1 won't be too impressive compared to later versions. Still, promising interview and if nothing else HP probably wants to keep investing in webos for a couple of years for publicity's sake. And maybe the management will be better.

> If they don't lay anyone off and actually
> keep 400+ people working on it they may be
> able to do something decent by the end of
> the year

Four hundred people? This is not Windows, Office or SQL Server! Keeping such a huge team for webOS would mean two things:

1.- They must'nt be very clever, if so many are needed.

2.- A division closure probability is directly tied to the amount of cash it sucks on each peyroll.

As I refuse to believe both claims, I hope the remaining webOS team is a small bunch of geniuses. But, with that executive parking lot story, I have many fears.

I predict that W8 will disappoint in 2013 (much like WP7 did so far).

On the desktop it risks being another Vista. An upgrade that nobody really wants and is force-fed to consumers when they buy a new desktop and enterprise tries to ignore because such changes only cost money for re-training.

On tablets it's yet another new mobile OS (existing windows applications won't run on arm hardware) with marker share even below webos. And it costs licence fees. And HP will have less influence over it than webos.

Rumor has it that Nokia sold more N9 with Meego (which they aborted in favor of WP7) than Lumia phones with WP7 so far.

There's a more than fair chance that W8 will be considered a flop by the end of 2013.

Clearly HP is betting on W8. Working closely with MS has worked well for them for a long time.

But keeping webos around and perhaps even produce a tablet with it in 2013 is a good backup option for HP. If W8 takes off - it's still good to keep webos around on the cheap so they have a bargaining chip vs MS. If W8 flops HP still has webos to put on tablets for which they don't have to pay licence fees.

Whatever risks there are with WP8 or Windows Phone, at least they're shared.

An entire industry of computer manufacturers, including HP, is depending Windows 8, and will be releasing lots of hardware in various form factors. Even if there any perception issues even close to Vista, Microsoft will simply retool and rebrand quickly as they did with Windows 7. Vista did little to destroy their dominance of the market, and every manufacturer that saw flagging Vista sales saw explosive Windows 7 ones.

Similarly with Windows Phone, Microsoft has bagged pretty much the top 3 non-Apple and non-RIM manufacturers (Samsung, Nokia, and HTC) into paying to license the software while also paying royalties on Android....plus they're putting it on pretty compelling high-end hardware that at least AT&T and T-Mobile is solidly behind promoting. Even with their paltry sales thus far, Windows Phone has outsold the entire range of webOS phones AND tablets by a significant margin.

Speaking objectively, if Microsoft is "risky", then we're the longest shot ever on a horse with three bad legs. None of this has anything to do with how great webOS (because it is), but simply realistically and objectively comparing the commercial performance.....man, it's not even close. Keep in mind, HP already has webOS as more than a backup. They put a lot into it and it didn't work out. They are putting less resources into this open-source version....not more.

You simply have to look at the army of manufacturers paying to be on the side of Microsoft's phone and computer products, and look at how...well, nobody...is trying to get in on webOS action even though it's been shopped for sale and licensing for several months now.

But keeping webos around and perhaps even produce a tablet with it in 2013 is a good backup option for HP. If W8 takes off - it's still good to keep webos around on the cheap so they have a bargaining chip vs MS. If W8 flops HP still has webos to put on tablets for which they don't have to pay licence fees.

webOS has failed under two owners, with 3 form factors, in multiple countries across many carriers and "channel partners" and resulted in over $3 BILLION in losses. I don't understand how the same plan becomes a viable "backup option" or a good "bargaining chip".

If you're going to make Win 8 ARM tablets, why not sell the same tablet with webOS on it at the same time. The cost is minimal, and it's the only way to get back some of the billions already spent.

That money is long gone and already written off on their books. There are no efforts underway to retrieve it. Remember, they dumped a lot of charges on it at the end of last year.

I don't agree that "the cost is minimal". If they ship new webOS devices they must also commit to full support of it (including, but not limited to, tech support/help desk, returns, enhancements - for security/bugs at a minimum, etc). They can't simply stamp a "buy at your own risk" sticker on it and call it a day.

Revive what? It still doesn't have a viable app ecosystem. It continues to fall behind in hardware management (API's). What has changed since August, other than the rest of the world moving forward fueled by strong sales. In the end, HP failed more than WebOS. They didn't embrace developers, carriers, retailers or customers. Nothing about 2013 will erase their failures and misgivings of 2011, unless the Mayans were right.

Bluntly, HP brings no positive energy in their efforts to market a superior product.

I really am impressed more and more by the the behavior of Meg Whitman.
Focusing on those fundamental Innovation "Rules of the Garage", opening up at the top level with those open offices (cubicles).
That is just showing a total different attitude than the elitist ego trip of Leo Apotheker.

Thanks Meg. I guess you saved HP. And webOS. :)

I agree that she did some good moves - but it's wayy to early to tell if she saved either.

It's just more talk from Meg Whitman - when HP actually does something maybe a few folks will listen.

Open sourcing webOS means zit if nobody uses it.

HP tried to take on Android and IoS before with this type of garbage rhetoric and failed miserably...remember?

It would make a lot of sense if the advantageous technology is used to your advantage and to our delight. By making open source it is not enough, need to have some general purpose apps too alongwith some games.

I said as much in the forums, but while I love Meg, she hasn't said anything different than what Todd Bradley was saying in interviews 12 months ago. The proof is in the pudding....if HP believes so much in this product, why are they reducing budget and staff and refusing to commit to new hardware? They have products that can run this OS right now, and refuse to make them. That says it all.

I'm amazed that the same people who passionately cursed HP's false statements before, now get giddy when a board member who was around and supportive of every single move Leo made says the same stuff that they failed to deliver on the first time. Nothing's changed, guys.

A couple of things -- she says "has huge advantages, in my view" but fails to mention any of those advantages. Can she?

Second, the whole fragmentation issue. Let's face it, HP has fragmentation envy. If webOS takes off and you have as many manufacturers making as many phone models for webOS as are making them for Android, I can 100% guarantee you that it will have the same amount of fragmentation.

WebOS has more fragmentation than anybody. And they made all the hardware.

The Pre fragment
The Pre2 fragment
The Veer fragment
The Pre3 fragment
The Pixi fragment
The Touchpad fragment

Inflexible screen resolutions, limited memory and CPU/GPU, three generations of webos.
Six products, six fragments. Well done. In one respect, WebOS is perfect.

First of all webOS is great. it is like 1984 all over again. back in the day when i had my Macintosh, people always talked about how windows was better, there are not applications for the mac and nobody is buying macs. And apple's motto WAS we are for the people who want something different. NOW the iphone has made Apple become BIG BLUE. I think it is good that webOS is not the biggest as long as they make a profit and stay in business. Staying under the radar is a good thing, I can turn the developers mode on and load a tether app without JAILBREAKING my phone.
I agree with Derick, HP has to go all in. they must believe in webOS, train sales people how to use them at bestbuy and carrier stores, simple and effective marketing, and prepare for the long haul.
There is nothing wrong with having more then 3 phone OS, that is like saying every guy wants Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, or Beyonce.

The issue with your 1984 comparison is that while you say Apple's motto was about the few that want something different, HP's tag line was a simple "EVERYBODY ON".

This suggest to me that webOS "staying under the radar" is a result of it failing to achieve HP's goal. So no, it's not "a good thing" at all.

Its so over no hardware not on the minds of anyone. the avg consumer has no idea what web os is H e l l windows phones barley make a dent on the market its a Google Apple phone world just how it is. R.I.P Palm i miss you Rott in h e l l Hp-Palm

how is H E L L a bad word lame A S S filters

Great article, but I don't believe we will see much of anything from it. I mean, I'm glad they finally seem to have a plan in place after almost 2.5 years of aquiring palm but I don't think webos is gonna be a mainstream os. It's gonna be like linux of the computer world, the ones who know it will use it but thats just about it.

I'm hoping I'm wrong and I would love to see Open WebOS come back fighting strong but I just don't see it happening.

TWith Enyo already out to the public, Meg seems at least keeping true to her word. I hope this continues.

Two cents...

Many mentioned that they have Palm's hardware, why aren't they touching it? While true, I THINK they're wanting to finish Open WebOS first. It was Leo Apotheker was the one that pulled the plug, wanting it to fail.

As for Microsoft, they're tied down to a contract. So of course we can expect Windows 8 hardware from them. That's a given. However, WebOS gives them a advantage. HP owns the software and the hardware from Palm. That gives them a 1up if Windows 8 flops. Only reason I gather why they haven't announced any WebOS hardware yet is because they're still open sourcing everything.

So the thing that flopped twice is now considered a 1up advantage incase the new thing flops?


we have got the internals that would make webOS great and the patents that no one can really touch us. the hardware and design teams need to take this legacy of design and ramp it and make it fresh. I am excited about the news...really excited. :)