back to article HP's Whitman suggests Googorola may close Android

HP CEO Meg Whitman foresees a great future for webOS, the mobile operating system that her company acquired in the $1.2bn Palm deal and is now contributing to the open source community – and part of her reasoning is based on her distrust of Google. "I think that Android may end up as a closed system because of [Google's] …


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  1. Gary Bickford

    More power to Meg

    I hope it works out. Perhaps Meg is what HP has bee looking for - a leader with both executive capability and vision. I had been putting off getting a new phone for months, waiting to see if the new one had proper hardware to match the OS, when the cancellation came. And I missed the TouchPad firesale (by about 40 seconds, apparently). I may pick one up on E-bay and make some guy a quick $200 profit. I don't even need a tablet, particularly but I'd like to try the TouchPad.

  2. Quxy

    Not hard to beat Apotheker...

    But Whitman has zero experience in the enterprise software, hardware, and services which are HP's core, which arguably puts her at more of a disadvantage than Leo had.

    Her track record at eBay isn't exactly stellar, either, with its stock value sliding from a high of $58 to $10 by the time she left. Her decision to buy PayPal was probably the smartest thing she did. On the other hand, acquiring Skype for such a colossal sum saddled eBay with a white elephant, and a bullet that she dodged only by finally managing to flog it to Microsoft for what she paid for it. Worse, she missed shifts in the market that let Amazon take over much of what could have been eBay's.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Not hard to beat Apotheker...

      I thought HP's core business was the sale of printer ink and manufacturing printers that use it.

      1. Thomas 4
        IT Angle

        Re: Re: Not hard to beat Apotheker...

        I thought HP's core business was buying up other companies like Compaq and Palm, suck the life from them for a bit before heaving them into a skip.

        1. Ian Yates

          Re: Re: Re: Not hard to beat Apotheker...

          So they're the Galactus of computer companies? I can see that

  3. T J

    What garbage.

    WebOS isn't bad but its pretty old hat. Everything is going to run Android by the end of 2012, thats just the way its going to be.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: What garbage.

      Dude, have you read the 4.0 (and future proposed ) hardware requirements before posting this?

      FFS, they are on par with PC Vista requirements in the 2D/3D graphic acceleration area. There is simply no way in hell every manufacturer will ship 3D accelerated chipset on every f***ing device out there. No way. It does not matter how much the chipsets will get commoditized and how much they will become cheaper. That will still be too expensive for a large chunk of devices out there.

      As far as closing Android, android itself may remain open, but a large chunk of the undrelying video will go closed that is for sure for same reason. None of the manufacturers out there is particularly keen on outsourcing graphics drivers and or libraries which do the same OpenGL ops in software.

      So Meg actually has a very good shot here if she positions herself right.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Re: What garbage.

        Yeah, but the public want shiny. To 99% of purchasers, GUI presentation is everything and what's underneath that ain't a selling point.

        WebOS will go the same way graphically, or die......

      2. Chet Mannly

        Re: Re: What garbage.

        "Dude, have you read the 4.0 (and future proposed ) hardware requirements before posting this?

        FFS, they are on par with PC Vista requirements in the 2D/3D graphic acceleration area."

        Dude have you seen the way mobile chipsets are developing before posting this?

        I mean early last year the Galaxy S was pretty hot stuff with its 1ghz single core chip - now we're not far off quads with integrated graphics improving at the same rate.

        Hardware wont be an issue for 4.0...

        1. ToddRundgren

          Re: Re: Re: What garbage.


          Don't go down the same, quad core must be 4X better, as the x86 boys did 3 years ago. Unless you can:

          a) schedule the jobs

          b) prevent memory exhaustion

          Muiti-core will makes thing significantly worse for users of smartphones.

          1. multipharious

            REPLY: What garbage.

            and don't forget...optimize the battery usage so it doesn't suck it dry before lunch.

      3. dotdavid

        Re: Re: What garbage.

        "Dude, have you read the 4.0 (and future proposed ) hardware requirements before posting this?"

        Er, "dude";

        Memory-wise 340MB kernel and userspace, 350MB data partition and at least 1GB application shared storage. GPU must be available. Apart from that there are no particular requirements of Android 4.0, although for certification you need to meet some performance requirements (time to launch certain applications, for example).

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Re: Re: What garbage.

          There's a few ROMs that manage to run ICS on the HTC Desire (not the HD or S, but the original bog standard one).

          If I can run Android 4 on a two year old phone then I won't worry too much about the hardware requirements.

  4. VeganVegan

    Google might not close off Android...

    She might not be totally off the mark. It all depends on if Google keeps Motorola at a sufficient arm's length to overcome the suspicions of the other Android vendors. These vendors would abandon Android if they think that Google will be playing favourites. Look at what happens with the Microsoft music fiasco (plays for sure, etc.)

    1. fzz

      Re: Google might not close off Android...

      The big question would be what OSes would be available if Android became closed. Unless all the other device mfgs were run by complete morons, all versions of Android released as open source would remain open source, so an obvious possibility would be forking the last open source version. If that weren't practical, there are options other than webOS besides Windows, but I'd figure device mfgs would be more comfortable with Windows, even if OEM licenses cost $$, than with webOS.

  5. earplugs

    How Meg got her swagga back

    1.9 million stock options would do it. I don't think she's that into webos

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How Meg got her swagga back

    1.9 million stock options would do it. I don't think she's that into webos

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      AC post FAIL :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: How Meg got her swagga back

      Don't work for HP fo you earplugs?

      1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

        Re: Re: How Meg got her swagga back

        ....not any more, I'm guessing.


  7. Mikel

    Way to go Meg

    Just go out and make youself the fool early on. It's HP ceo tradition.

    1. Armando 123

      Re: Way to go Meg

      Did you ever think Carly would look, you know, kinda competent?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @Meg: Don't Infringe on Microsoft Patents

    After all MS owns the Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (F.U.D.) patent.

    1. tirk

      Re: @Meg: Don't Infringe on Microsoft Patents

      IBM claim prior art.

  9. Richard Wharram

    Just whipping up a scare.

    I'm no Google fanboi but I don't believe for a minute that Google is going to drop all its Android partners and keep Android for Googorola devices. Google makes profit from having Android everywhere and leveraging the data it creates for its ad empire. Besides which it is currently open-ish source so if they tried this the other vendor's could simply fork it and write their own market app. Samsung dominates the Android handset market in terms of brand power and profit. Customers will go with Samsung not Motorola.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Just whipping up a scare.

      Agreed, didn't we hear similar with the Nexus1? How Google was going to shaft all their partners, like HTC, becuase they were making their own phone. Roll forward a few years and HTC are still raking it in.

      TBH, I think Whittie was looking for a headline-grabbing statement, and what better one than slapping Google. Personally, I'd like to see a new generation of iPaqs with the option to run Windows, Android or WebOS on the same handsets.

      1. ToddRundgren

        Re: Re: Just whipping up a scare.

        Wasn't the Nexus made by HTC Matt?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          Re: Re: Re: Just whipping up a scare.

          True. Instead, then, think of Samsung - they weren't harmed by the Nexus1.

    2. danny_0x98

      Re: Just whipping up a scare.

      So the question is, is Ms. Whitman clueless or just running deliberate FUD?

      I don't know, but as a voter of the state of California who was very pleased that the overspend-to-get-elected lady is not our we-solve-problems-by-cutting-spending governor, I lean towards the former.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Just whipping up a scare.

        She's clueless. They pumped her full of talking points before she hit the stage. I would enjoy seeing a debate between Larry Page and Meg on the merits of their mobile OSs. Like Mike Tyson vs. someone pulled from the crowd.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          Re: Re: Re: Just whipping up a scare.

          "She's clueless...." Hmmm, Princeton and Harvard may beg to differ.

          ".....They pumped her full of talking points...." Yes, Wunderburp, because you were there, backstage, before the presentation, right? For all you know she could actually be convinced WebOS is the next best thing.

          "....I would enjoy seeing a debate between Larry Page and Meg....." Why? Larry knows SFA about Android. Schmidt was the CEO (and on the Apple board....) when Android kicked off. And Android wasn't even a Google original, it was bought in from Android Inc. I doubt if Page has any real deep knowledge about what's under the hood of Android than he does of WebOS.

  10. Atonnis

    We've got our swagger back!??

    Hey, Meg! How about you sort out your f--king abysmal tech support services first?

    Anyway, tiresome mobile-OS arguments later - it's entirely possible that Google could close Android - but WebOS is not going to come forward as some sort of open-source saviour of the people. It's going to be a niche for fans who can't let go.

    I think WebOS is very good. It's slick and easy, if a little boring. However, it ain't gonna make enough money for people to bother creating stuff for it en masse, and the open source community tends to have a LOT more people ready to create stuff to abuse/steal stuff from your devices these days.

  11. Paratrooping Parrot

    I am holding on my normal mobile phone, waiting to see whether there are webOS smartphones coming out. It's not that I need to upgrade my mobile phone as it does what I need it to do. :) Although I do hope it is not going to be a long wait...

  12. neiltbelfast

    I can't see this happening if I'm honest. I'd admire her ambition, but I bet if you put 1000 people in a row only one or two of them (if you're lucky) would even know what WebOS is. While she's right in saying these things take time, Android would need to lose some serious traction before something like this would happen.

    I believe it will continue to be a two horse race, with Windows Mobile getting a slice of the action too. What size of the slice, remains to be seen though.

  13. Bassey

    Better alternative

    If Google start playing funny buggers with Android then the 4.0 (ICS) source code is already available. Surely this would make a much better starting point for the Android Manufacturers to use as the basis for a new OS branch than OpenWOS?

  14. Hooksie

    Of course she doesn't think that will happen..

    It's just salesman talk. She wants a couple of hardware vendors to take the possibility seriously and take a chance on webOS. I know what the poster above meant about webOS being boring but so what? It does what you ask it to do with the minimum of fuss, handles all the video you can throw at it and plays games pretty well (Assassin's Creed on Touchpad is pretty impressive just for one) and yes, all it needs is a developer community.

    But that's what Meg is trying to help create by enticing hardware vendors to license webOS. The more devices out there the more potential customers for developers. I mean, the Touchpad was like the 2nd best selling tablet last year thanks to the firesale, that's a LOT of user base that developers aren't tapping. I really like webOS and although I've got Android on the Touchpad and my phone, I prefer webOS because it's less cluttered and does multi-tasking properly.

    There's not a chance in hell of Android going closed the way that Meg insinuates but then she never once said that it WOULD happen, only that it COULD. Yes, that's the old FUD but she's trying to sell her company's wares, what do you expect?

    She needs to announce the Touchpad 2 soon though; thinner, lighter, more capable and with webOS sitting proud front and centre, only then will people tale her seriously about webOS.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see Google closing up the source for everyone, even the most rabid Googlefans would have trouble rationalising that decision and Larry Page would need to invest more in personal security.

    However with Motorola on their side I CAN see Google going to something like the OSI-approved Non-Profit Open Source license, while demanding a fee from commercial Android manufacturers.

    With Microsoft more and more tied into Nokia, and Motorola always guaranteeing that Android remains a serious threat, manufacturers would have little option but pay up - or keep using outdated but free Android versions, for the time being it seems not many except techies would care as long as it's cheap.

    Google could well do with diversifying their business, 96% revenue tied to web advertising is risky business. This way they could have their cake and eat - e.g. part of Samsung's huge profits from Android - it too.

    Fandroids wouldn't care because they just want something that lets them claim their platform is open anyway.

  16. Jean-Paul

    I wish...

    I wish it would happen...I am one of the 5 people that bought a WebOS device and really like it. Also a delight to develop for. But there were no deals made with the networks, nor other hardware providers. They should get that sorted and it would be a nice alternative. It is good to have choice.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't make sense

    The Motorola purchase allows Google to deal with iOS, with a patent war chest, and also to work closer to the hardware to develop and evolve the operating system better. Battery consumption comes to mind. A HW roadmap is really needed to create devices with an edge, which Nokia used to enjoy (and sold away!) and now only Apple does. Samsung with Bada to an extent.

    Google traditionally had a launch partner; with Googorola, they could just use two launch partners to keep Android doubters at bay.

    Google wants Android on as many devices. They need the apps as well, this is their end goal, not to become a mobile phone company. They need to stop iOS ad revenue growth.

    So by definition they would do what is needed to stop WebOS and iOS proliferation.

    Making me actually wonder about Meg Whitman and HP's future.

  18. the-it-slayer

    Read behind the headlines...

    Although Meg may sound a tad ambitious, but, she's on the ball here.

    Looking at the direction Android is going, Google may price themselves out of the cheap handset market for glossifiying the OS with high spec hardware demands not every manufactuerer will want to cater to. Look at the bottom end devices. They'll keep using previous half-gen kit to cheaply build devices quickly and move onto the customer as a pay-as-you-go or cheap contract phone.

    If HP can position WebOS to attack the low-end market with reasonable spec's, they could nip 25% of Android's overall share of the market.

    Personally, I was going to give WebOS a go after being majorly disappointed with the T-G1 device. When iPhone 4 came out, I was sold on that because of it's direction.

    Android is a ticking time-bomb if the exec's don't split the OS into two subs (low-end / high-end). Steam rolling the hardware spec's higher at faster rate won't keep pulling in the low-end market when they very quickly ditch support for versions 2 and 3.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: Read behind the headlines...

      ".....If HP can position WebOS to attack the low-end market...." Which ignores the fact that WebOS has been designed as a full-blown tablet OS. Besides, who's to say the budget phone vendors don't just stay with Android 2.x and add any security updates or limited new features as required?

  19. Anonymous John

    I had this strange dream last night.

    I dreamt that HP had discontinued the TouchPad

  20. DS 1

    At least

    She's put a stop to some seriously bad bleeding going on at HP. The way they were going was dead man walking. And yes, she has instilled a bit of swagger and self confidence in what HP is - about time

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drummer for the White Stripes isn't she?!


  22. xperroni

    FLOSS'ed down

    So that's HP brilliant plan for WebOS? "Open source" the platform and hope everything turns up good?

    Man, are they in for a rude awakening.

    By the way, have you heard of Boot to Gecko?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    pssst, secret ...

    ... it's all about the apps.

    Android devices have allowed mobile networksoperators to offer a range of prices to both compete with iPhone and also to work within cheaper market segments.

    They've managed to do it, partly because of the hardware manufacturers getting behind Android, but mainly because there's a sizable Application market which is growing daily.

    Google knew that apps was what it was all about - and built a platform that allowed for apps to be created pretty damn quickly, using existing programming languages and concepts with plenty of scope for rapid app porting.

    Microsoft are desperately trying to play catchup - and even with their massive revenue stream and marketing clout, are struggling to make any significant inroads. This is due to some terrible decisions, as they could have a *massive* amount of windows developers clamouring to get onboard the App train if the numbers added up, which they currently don't.

    And then we have WebOS.

    Great platform, by all accounts, with just one small problem.

    An incredible lack of applications, an undeniable lack of devices and therefore an overwhelming lack of interest.

    Chicken and egg scenario.

  24. Spanners Silver badge

    I thought

    once something was Open Source, it stays that way. My nice new Galaxy SII has a copy of GPL2 in the <Legal Information> section. Once you have that, it can't be closed.

    Remember the Microsoft FUD calling GPL a virus? So OSS was "Suit Wearing Parasite" unfriendly because you can't steal it then and now it is hated by the same type because it can be stolen?

    The FUD mongers need to read the background story.

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: I thought

      It doesn't meant Google can't develop an entirely new Kernel (usually an insane/laughable idea but this IS after all Google and Motorola, they very well could) and switch to a more restrictive license, getting the GPL entirely off their IP. Im honestly surprised they didn't do this with or immediately following Honeycomb.

      So yes it may have the GPL on it, as does my Version 2.2.3 phone, but Im pretty sure that ICS (and all other Android versions) is itsself licensed under the Apache license with only the Kernel and its patches under the GPLv2.

      The Open Handset Alliance itsself states very openly that it doesn't especially care for GPL or LGPL. They even have a huge treatise about it on their website, they like Apache. See for yourself.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  26. asdf

    webos is nice

    and it is much easier on the battery on my touchpad but no pulse newsreader app means webos gets booted up very infrequently. And don't say well it has redit, kitten fart videos is not what interests me. Get the basic apps people use at least. There are almost more apps on the rooted app installer than on HP official store.

    1. asdf

      Re: webos is nice

      didn't explicitly say it but what gets booted up is Android (thanks CM team!).

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