back to article Samsung 'mulls bid for' HP's orphaned webOS

Samsung may be mulling over the purchase of webOS – recently orphaned by HP – in a move to protect itself from an increasingly unfriendly Apple and the threat of Google and its new toy, Motorola Mobility. Or so say "sources from notebook players", speaking with the Taiwanese rumor-and-news website, DigiTimes. Notice the word …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Bada Rick...

    They invested to much on it. They have the developers and their own market. If they intend to ditch Android...

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge


      The Bada world is full of Samsung's decision to massively expand it's software development operations in India:

      From Indonesia via Google translation|en

      WebOS has a lot going for it but Samsung already has products where WebOS would work. WebOS would seem to make sense for someone who wants to get in the market but is software light such as a Chinese OEM.

      Expanding software development in India will be a smart move if they can get it right. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than Europe and the US and closer to a different market where established Western brands don't have it all their own way: Coca Cola bought a local brand in India, initially to close out a competitor but kept it because of the size of the market. Nokia is still very successful there because it has worked hard.

      The Western obsession with getting out of manufacturing and hoping to get by owning the top part of the value could end up biting a lot of companies. Samsung's USD 18 billion hasn't just come from being a copycat but from doing a lot of hard work and oodles of R&D.

      1. nyelvmark

        From Indonesia via Google translation

        I'm sorry, but what part of this was the output of Google translate?

        Do you also do climate predictions?

  2. William Higinbotham

    All Samsung has to do

    Show the courts that their product supports Adobe Flash and Apple does not!


    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      What's flash got to do with anything?

      Apple's beef with Samsung is about copying the UI and making packaging look similar.

      1. N13L5

        copying the UI?

        I don't think so...

        Andriod UI isn't perfect, but its way better than iOS' stupid icon monotony.

        Guess who's copying Google's notification bar? Apple...

        "intellectual property" my ass...

        Apple and iPhone is like Blizzard and World of Warcraft... they didn't invent anything new, they just put existing things together in a very polished and retard-proof way.

        They all should copy to make better devices, and quit trying to compete in the courtroom.

        Overblown patent durations will cost the west its current advantage.

        I understand patents' original idea, but the whole thing has been perverted into a tool of oppression and enabling monopoly abuse.

        I laud Asia for largely ignoring our patents. Thousands should have never been granted, and many more are for such basic and retarded things, you could not patent them anywhere else in the world but the U.S. Its a system of modern piracy enabling a few to steal from everybody, with a mantle of legality.

        Like patenting buttons in an application going to an external link.. whoopdidoo! Plenty of prior art, just nobody retarded enough to think of patenting it, so some retard comes along and patents it, and the patent office, clueless as they are (apparently no access to internet search engines either) grants it...

        Thats like some crook being given legal means to rob multiple liquor stores simultaneously.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      You misunderstand

      Apples gripe is that Samsung has made a device with is flat, rectangular and has rounded corners, which are all new things that Apple has given us and has exclusive rights to.

      Also Apple are not happy that when you ask the Samsung device to list the applications, it does so using a grid of icons; something that only Apple should do (Windows Program Manager or Windows Explorer excepted)

  3. alexh2o


    Sorry but isn't the whole problem with Android it has no patent protection? Hence Motorola. Won't Samsung just be buying a whole new patent problem with webOS?

    Also, isn't it clear now it's not about the operating system, it's the whole ecosystem. webOS doesn't come with an ecosystem to match iOS/Android. Samsung can't change that!

    Finally, Samsung already have Bada and WP7 as back up OSes. Why the need to add a fourth dying OS?

    (As a side note too, surely slapping an even more iOS like OS onto their devices is just going to aggrevate the whole Apple situation?)

  4. Peter Gordon
    Thumb Up


    I take this rumour with an articulated lorry full of salt, but if it turned out to be true, I'd love it.

    I love webOS on my Palm Pre and my HP Touchpad, I don't want it to die...

    1. Levente Szileszky

      RE: Really?

      Really, you have just demonstrated all the problems with goofy people making loudmouthed posts about things they don't have the slightest clue about...

      ...does not even worth a reply it's so full of nonsense; you clearly lack even the most fundamental understanding of this whole industry.

    2. bhtooefr

      Where do I begin?

      So, for starters, if they buy the whole webOS GBU from HP, they get Palm's patent portfolio - one that has a few in there that Apple is downright terrified of. Handy, when Apple is pummeling them in the courts.

      Second, the ecosystem will take a few years to build. But, pump money into it for a few years, and you get the ecosystem. Or, do regular fire sales, like HP just did...

      Third, webOS is no longer dying - it has a strong userbase now. Admittedly, they already have Bada, but who uses Bada? And, Nokia is now effectively the preferred WP7 partner, so it's in a similar situation to Android.

      And, finally, have you actually used webOS? It's far LESS like iOS in a lot of ways.

    3. Thomas 4

      Sounds tasty

      Samsung has some pretty decent hardware for their phones - a Galaxy with WebOS would be sweet.

  5. Armando 123

    Too many options

    Given that they can already use Bada, Android, and Bada, none of which might be the right option, does something with WebOS' shortcomings (mostly on the App side and the customer familiarity side) solve these problems? I wonder if they're just trying to drive up the price for a potential competitor who might be interested; I've seen it before.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Samsung don't see it how the bloggers see it

      While a lot of the web paints the mobile OS space as a fight to the death, Samsung sees the OS as merely another component. To that end they've pursued a strategy of not allowing themselves to become dependent on any single supplier, so as to mitigate against risk. Their problem is that Bada is consciously designed to bring smart phone functionality to the feature phone tier and presents a relatively painful environment for developers as a result — nothing as low as the Symbian level but quite a few pegs down from the Java or C# end of the spectrum. If they were to buy or to licence WebOS, I imagine it'd be to provide greater diversity for their high end phones.

      That said, like you I'm highly sceptical. Regardless of it's qualities, WebOS is a platform with a very poor track record in the market. I guess the question is whether Samsung feel both sufficiently emboldened and sufficiently restrained by Bada.

    2. Armando 123


      That should be "Bada, Android, and Windows Mobile". *sigh* The mind is a terrible this when wasted.

      1. Armando 123


        "Terrible thing when wasted". I blame my PL/SQL programming for this.

        1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


          PL/SQL? Yeah, right... I'd blame those pints instead.

      2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Don't worry

        Everyone else forgets about Windows Mobile as well.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A very small gap

    If its for tablets, the gap between Bada and MS Windows isn't very big. They could fill that gap with webOS instead of Android but its hard to imagine that that would result in a dramatic increase in sales.

    I thought I would find the Android tablets interesting, but eventually realized that what I want is a full computer in a small tablet form, maybe dual boot with Windows and Android . The Viewsonic devices would be a go if the Android wasn't being run inside Windows.

    If I wanted an iPad, I would use the one we have in the house ;)

  7. Roger Stenning

    No, Android is not strictly about a lack of patent protection. It's about GPL.

    Specifically, that it's all supposed to be an OS OS (no, not a hiccup, I mean Open Source Operating System). I'd have called the idea OS2, but IBM might defecate masonry and lawsuits *grin*

  8. Gary F

    Samsung are better off with Android

    Samsung have done a great job marrying up their superb hardware to Android, and Android runs beautifully on it. I think they should carry on as they are. Let someone else pick up WebOS. Any split between 2 OSes would dilute what they're doing with Android.

    Saying that, I wish Samsung didn't waste their time on their own version of an apps market. It's a load of rubbish. They only piece of software on my phone from Samsung that I like is Kies. A very competent synching and backup tool.

    1. Rovindi

      Kies - You´re having a Steffi Graf...

      Apart from iTunes and the shite I used to cobble together many years ago, Kies is, without doubt, a festering piece of junk. It´s system overheads are enormous. It has a really naff UI that is hardly intuitive and it´s functionality is quite limited. I usually have to connect my GS to the pc (USB or BT) several times or restard Kies several times, to get the fecker to see my device.

      With regards to Sync and Backup, it only syncs to Outlook and the backup only does data. You can´t backup apps or data other than Contacts/Calendar etc. Which is kinda what the sync does, so yes it is kinda useful, but not very.

    2. Vic

      That's not true.

      > Specifically, that it's all supposed to be an OS OS

      Not so.

      The kernel and a few choice goodies are GPL, but most of the stack is not. The commitment to keeping that source open is at the whim of Google - and, as we've seen with 3.0 - they're not fussed about keeping to that aim.


    3. Goat Jam

      You said Kies and like in the same sentence

      I agree with the poster above. Itunes is a festing pile of dung, but Kies is just as bad only with less features.

      It rarely even manages to connect to my phone at all.

  9. Eduard Coli

    Souds familiar

    Personal computing, particularly mobile computer is littered with the wreckage of devices and operating systems that was far superior to their competitors. These having been killed by brain dead and/or sell out management (like HP) or by monopoly.

  10. Levente Szileszky

    It's about owning of the stack, stupid...

    ...and owning WebOS would pay back handsomely IF Samsung, unlike HP, would willing to commit enough engineering resources and decent budget to market it properly.

    This current firesale-induced case proved people are willing to buy affordable tablets with ANY OS, moreover with few million users you will get much more attention from developers.

    Hey, B&N sells tons of Nook Color 3G for $260, only to get it rooted by tech-savy people, just how much success WebOS would gain by offering much more for the same price...?

    If Samsung buys WebOS then they will control the entire stack and since they would mfr it their cost would be much lower than HP, most likely within a ~$200-250 firesale-entry price range, $60-100 cheaper than HP's cost was:$318-Bill-of-Materials.aspx

  11. ideapete

    Wow impressive Zombi Move

    if you cannot copy live things buy DEAD ones

  12. Sean Baggaley 1

    I wonder if WebOS might not be better sold to...

    ... a company like Adobe.

    HP have an indifferent track record in software development at best, but WebOS' very architecture strikes me as a very good fit for Adobe's various web-centric suites. They're already making moves into the pure-play "HTML5" market; it wouldn't take much effort to pimp those tools to handle development for WebOS.

    And, for all their price-gouging, Adobe *do* know design. They can play Apple at their own game. A game Adobe has been kicking arse at for longer than *both* Steve Jobs' tenures at Apple combined.

    The trick will be licensing WebOS to manufacturers, which could be tricky with a company like Samsung—as others have pointed out, Samsung already have Bada—but others, like HTC, might be interested. However, I think Chinese companies would probably jump at the chance to have a differentiator between their mobile devices, and those of their competitors. A decent, (for most users), $99 tablet running WebOS would certainly be feasible within a year given the economies of scale available to the Chinese industrial machine.

    HTC is the only one of the name manufacturers I can see being interested in something like WebOS, but they've generally been platform-neutral, so this might go against their business model. Sony and LG seem unlikely WebOS owners; if either do buy WebOS from HP, I'd expect them to f*ck it up royally too.

  13. Lars Silver badge


    We have two skippers Herrn Apotheker and Mr Elop lost at sea.

    But should we not blame the "board" who appointed them.

    1. Mr Floppy

      perish the thought

      Adobe kill every thing that they touch. Just look at Business Catalyst. What a joke of a system.

      I wonder if Amazon are interested?

  14. Robert E A Harvey

    Hindenburgian flameout

    Nice phrase. But sadly prescient, I fear.

    Bye Bye HP

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Not going to happen.

    Samsung have already spread themselves thin, they already have Bada and make great Android handsets. Why buy WebOS white elephant?

    They only reason they could want it, is to stop someone else getting it, or to cull it for something for Bada. The thought of anyone buying it to SAVE it is insane, it's long past dead (as is Bada and WP7)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Having had the pleasure of playing with WebOS...

      ... It is NOT a white elephant.

      It is a shame that Palm got shunted away from 3Com, then sold to HP, then orphaned. WebOS is lovely, perhaps not iOS-lovely, but still lovely.

      I had the pleasure of using a Palm Pre for 3 weeks whilst in the US (on loan from Sprint) and frankly, I thought that it was actually nicely integrated. It did "the cloud" before iOS did, and it could synchronise the content of multiple devices without any problems. In fact, that's one of the pre-requisites of WebOS... you have to put it online because otherwise your device can't be initialised.

      Oh well... with Samsung, they might have a chance... WebOS on their TV's, in their microwaves (just kidding), airconditioners (nice idea), their mobile devices? I like that idea.

      1. jason 7

        Another WebOS convert here

        Been using a Palm Pre 2 for a month now. Wow! Just wow!

        Used WM7/iOS and Android. WebOS just works better for me than all of them. It was the quickest OS to get around and learn. Setup was quick and easy too. Fantastic.

        Shame that consumers could be left with iOS and Android. Thats a shitty world.

  16. Mike Pellatt

    Remember OpenMail ?

    The last time Samsung bought orphaned software from HP, it was OpenMail.

    That worked well for them.....

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