HP (previous CloudAve coverage) today announced that they are opensourcing their WebOS mobile operating system. After their initial plan to shed WebOS completely, there was a rethink once Meg Whitman took over as CEO. They were dillydallying for many weeks before making this smart move.
HP today announced it will contribute the webOS software to the open source community.
HP plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS. By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.
Here are my quick thoughts on the news:
- This is good for HP in the long run. They have decided to continue with hardware business and their future tablet and smartphone plans need not rely on the whims and fancies of other OS vendors. Making it open source gives them good karma to attract developers to the project while also letting them have some control over the direction of development. It is not just the hardware market that will benefit from this move but it will also help in their cloud strategy (disclosure: I gave brief advice on their cloud strategy without financial compensation). Look at Amazon and how they are forking Android with their Kindle Fire plans. They clearly understood that they need a solid mobile strategy to go with their cloud strategy. If HP’s cloud plans take off the way they imagine, they will need a solid mobile strategy and this open source webOS will help them.
- RIP RIM #enufsaid
- This gives hardware manufacturers more options. They need not rely just on Google and Microsoft for their mobile OS needs and webOS empowers them with more choice. Not only they can take advantage of open source webOS, this also puts them at an advantageous position while negotiating with Google and Microsoft.
- Microsoft’s plan to be the # 3 OS behind Android and iOS now has a strong competitor. I agree webOS has to go a long way before it can be a credible threat to Windows phone OS but it could just turn out to be one.
- Another open source irritant for the dominant Apple
- More choices means better for end users. Especially, having a standards based open source alternative is good.
Again, these are my initial thoughts after seeing the news. It will be interesting to see what level of developer traction the project gets (knowing the fact that HP is not an attractive name for developer community) and how hardware vendors embrace the idea. Even more interesting will be the license which HP has not announced yet. Let us see.
- HP Open Sources webOS (techie-buzz.com)
- HP’s punt on WebOS (tech.fortune.cnn.com)
- HP Making webOS Open Source (mobile.slashdot.org)
- HP open sources webOS, but don’t expect any new hardware (venturebeat.com)
- HP To Keep webOS Alive By Making It Open Source (techcrunch.com)
- HP to make webOS open source; is it just prolonging the end? (zdnet.com)