back to article HP lays cuckoo egg in Microsoft nest

Microsoft's biggest partner has laid a cuckoo's egg in the nest. Next year, every Hewlett-Packard Windows PC will ship with the Linux-based webOS as well. Recently recruited chief executive Leo Apotheker told Businessweek that putting webOS on all HP's PC would encourage software developers to create "a wider range of …


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  1. Robert E A Harvey

    Absolute Genius

    Yes, spin a desktop out of a phone/tablet OS for very little extra cost, and ship it only on hardware you understand. Absolutely great idea.

    What we also need is some unique selling point, like a simple scripting/gui app generator so people can make it work for them. Or a truly transparent file sharing system, where your phone/pad/desktop use spare cpu cycles, local and internet networking, so that your music, memos, whatever exist on all of your devices without you having to do anything.

    Great news, HP.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Bad analogy

    For the whole cuckoo analogy thing to work, Microsoft would have to start selling HP boxes thinking they were normal Microsoft boxes.

    Which is naturally pure fiction, but a strangely amusing thought.

    Shouldn't it be "WebOS lays cuckoo egg in HP nest"?

  3. Sil

    Uninspired HP strategy

    Quite a dangerous strategy for HP trying to justify a purchase that made no sense in the first place.

    webOS is absolutely as irrelevant as Palm.

    google had the money, the clout, the power to make android relevant, especially because it was strategic for many hardware manufacturers and telcoms not to let Microsoft too much power.

    webOS as an HP only OS will not benefit from the same dynamics. Plus Linux on Dell was a total failure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Strategy" or not...

      I like it. I am sick of maintaining Windows for my friends and family. If WebOS is easy enough to use and good for email and web browsing, you can bet that I will start recommending HPs to friends and suggesting they use WebOS for basic computing tasks. Cheaper than trying to convince everybody to buy Macs.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am sick of maintaining Windows for my friends and family

        yes because now you will have to help them with Windows AND WebOS.


        1. Gulfie

          Windows support exit strategy

          I haven't used Windows outside of client offices for over three years now and never upgraded my own machines past XP (I've not used Vista or Windows 7 at all).

          Consequently as family buy new hardware they get Windows 7 and fall outside of my capabilities. Simples.

          Anyone who buys a Mac will get all the support they need (which will be next to nothing)...

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Don't worry!

        You'll keep maintaining Windows for family and friends for a long time from now on. WebOS would be nothing more than a fat client to HP AppStore running on ... why Windows of course. Only if you're very young you might hope to live to that day when WebOS might show up as a hidden option for a dual-boot.

  4. Mikel

    It's just an app, not a VM

    They should make it available as a free application download for every PC, not just HP, and sell support. Instant RedHat sized business for free, and it moves a lot of tablets and phones. Boom.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How superfluous!

    HP forfeited the fight to convince the world that they are a big software player long ago. They already had at least three non-Microsoft operating systems (NonStop, HP-UX, OpenVMS), four if you counted Linux. Why yet another operating system?

    This looks at best, like another me-too offering that will tank. Itanic, anyone?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      not sure comparing HP Non-stop, UX and VMs with WebOS is a good example. I'll rephrase that, it's an utter crap example.

  6. dssf
    Thumb Up


    But, get the damned battery life 2x or 3x better than it is for Linux! Help the developers exploit the battery chemistry so a Linux distro can be properly tuned to run 3 or 4 hours or more, not UP TO 3, but TO or BEYOND 3 or 4 hours. Also, work with VMWare, Oracle XVm, Wine/et al, and the Linux kernel devs...

  7. Anonymous Coward

    HP needs to stock up on black sweaters

    HP is just copying Apple's business model.

    It's pretty obvious they want to own the hardware and the OS.. a la Apple. I suspect HP is tired of playing the commodities game with Dell with all the Asian tigers on the horizon.

    Grenade because this isn't going to end well. I never saw anything innovative out of HP...

    1. Gulfie
      Thumb Up

      Owning the hardware and the OS

      As a 'PC' seller HP are really just a box shifter like all the other PC manufacturers. They all use (broadly) the same hardware, they all load the same OS, so they can only compete on price. Same as the Android and Windows Mobile spaces, which may be why they decided to go with WebOS and not be 'just another reseller'.

      These days it's the bespoke software that ties people to hardware (would you buy Apple if you could get a reliable OS X laptop or iOS-running phone from somebody else?) so if (a big if, admittedly) HP can innovate on top of WebOS and resist the temptation to licence it to third parties, then they'll be able to exert the same degree of control that Apple do, with the the same commercial benefits.

      It's a risky strategy (from the perspective of the amount of money needed to make it work) but at least they've realised that if they carry on as they are they won't be able to hike margins or differentiate themselves from the competition. Or, to coin Highlander...

      "It's better to burn out than to fade away"

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. stranger

      Re: I do not buy HP hardware.

      you left out the fact that they release yesterday's hardware to the rest of the world while releasing the latest to the USofA market. The rest of the world have to wait for sometime before getting the new processors or options.

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge

      I buy HP hardware

      You HP rant:

      I see your bluff. What hardware do you buy on those terms? Microsoft's latest OS to have all support removed is Windows 2000, and I am not expecting ANY manufacturer to support obsolete PC's. Or are you asking for Win7 compatible BIOS versions for Pentium 3 machines? Please explain.

      About WebOS: WebOS would have a niche market at best on the corporate sector, so if anyone is thinking that Windows is being replaced they are deluded.

      I'd expect WebOS coming in three flavors:

      The WebOS may come as a Splashtop incarnation. Most - if not all HP business laptops already have the "Quickweb" software which is a dualboot feature allowing instant-on (well, a few seconds that is) web browsing. HP is licensing the software from Splashtop Inc and considering their marketshare they are also paying a lot - this could save some money on the side.

      The other use would be to replace Windows in low powered net-oriented laptops where Windows is too taxing, just like Asus EEE line used Linux. HP hasn't been a player on the el-cheapo laptop market but this is one way to stand out IF they can execute the WebOS experience right off the bat.

      Thirdly, WebOS could also be used on some HP's thin clients as long as it will have the required Citrix/TS/etc clients. HP already has their Thinpro Linux OS which fits into a 128MB flash on the cheapest ARM based thin clients. WebOS has a history of fitting into ARM based cell phones and such devices so it would be a logical selection here.

  9. Andrew Baines Silver badge

    Oh good

    Something else to keep updated. Anyone used a HP printer driver lately - you really want more of their bloatware?

  10. Allison Park

    Another Sun in the making?

    I've seen this movie. A dead end highend technology (Itanic/Sparc) but HP is at Intel's mercy

    A lack of software except for operating system (HPUX/Solaris) but HP is worse

    People leaving in droves because of low morale. (HP dropped the "invent" from its logo)

    Yet another storage acquisition which replaces the DEC storage (3PAR)

    Piissing off every partner (Oracle/Microsoft/Cisco/RedHat....)

    They need to buy PostgreSQL and completely make Oracle hate them just like Schwartz did with MySQL. I really liked the NeoView technology they should bring it back. Old BI technology on Tandem OS on Itanium and you wonder why no one bought it.

    It should be an interesting year as we wait for more software acquisitions like Palm.

    If it wasn't for the great money maker of black ink HP would be on the list with Unisys and SGI.

  11. stranger

    allow piracy?!

    no really, allow people to pirate WebOS and try to get on as many machine as you can. Even go farther and allow piracy on WebOS 2. Don't even begin to fight piracy until WebOS 3. For now, getting it on as many lowend desktops, netbooks and tablets should be the primary goal.

    many people have low end desktops that they do _NOT_ need to upgrade and many are stuck with Windows Starter Edition on the other devices. If those people mostly use their machines for the Internet and/or to store their pictures and videos. This new OS will allow them to upgrade their OS without having to buy a new machine. And if they can pirate it, then there is a higher chance that they will byte.

    any way, it is also time for HP to invest in porting OpenOffice/LibreOffice to WebOS or they could pay IBM to port Lotus Symphony for them.

    P.S. I believe that one of the things that helped Microsoft become what it is today is the piracy that disturbed MS/DOS, Windows 3.1/95/98 and NT and put them on almost every machine in the past 20 years. Also the piracy of MS Office is that made everyone use it. If Windows and Office weren't pirated, Microsoft wouldn't be where it is now.

    I'll get my coat, I am sure that people will hate my argument that somehow ended up looking like it supported piracy.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Wait a minute!

    HP offering Linux to consumers ? Even if this is a joke, it is the lamest one can imagine. Yes, from time to time they claimed to offer it but for you as customer to get it, HP would come to deliver to you it at midnight in some remote forest, wearing a fake mustache and being constantly on a lookout for followers. Oh, and they begged you not to tell anyone you got it from them.

    No, definitely Microsoft will not lose any sleep on this.

    As for the 1400$ laptop, were they nuts ? For that pile of money a Linux fan would would gladly buy a way better hardware, wipe Windows plague and still have some cash left for plenty of beer while regular users who might consider to experience Linux would go back straight to Windows.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Lest we forget ...

    ... Apotheker was previously in charge of SAP. He didn't exactly drag that package kicking and screaming into the 21st century (or even the 20th, it feels like). Let's hope SAP doesn't demonstrate the best that German design has to offer.

  14. vic 4

    Additional OS?

    Why not give the customer the choice? It would be great to buy PCs with the OS I choose or just without. I know I can buy them from various places but they tend to cost more, and I've rather have a guarantee from a large company than some back street shop or someone on ebay.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Giving customers a choice is bad for business

      No matter how innovative a company is, not having some sort of exclusivity, lock-in or stranglehold on their customers means no success at all. As my grand-mother used to tell me whenever I was visiting her in the small village where she lived, "always remember this, my child, put the entry barrier very low and exit barrier very high".

  15. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    About time

    About time HP offers something better than Windows..

    Check out

    for why companies "recommend" windows :(

  16. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    Bundling should be illegal

    Forcing people to buy software when they buy a computer should be illegal.

    I would hate to spend 50-100 dollars on a new PC, so that Microsoft can have its ransom.

  17. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns

    Nice idea, but

    Linux on new pee-cees is a good thing except that past experience shows us that people want the Windows license that they were forced to pay for when they bought the computer and may replace Windows with some sort of Ubuntu later.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Strange situation

    I'm not sure I can think of another industry where all the players are absolutely dependent on one supplier. MS still have a monopoly (well, almost), and everyone else pays for it.

    It's a strange business.

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