By Geoff Mair
A couple of weeks ago HP dropped the bombshell that it is discontinuing operations around all webOS phones and the TouchPad (which was only on the market for a couple of months).
Hearing this news, it has become clear to me that when it comes to the mobile world, it really is a head-to-head battle between Google Android and Apple iOS.
If anyone has a fighting chance in the mobile wars it would be Microsoft and its agreement with Nokia to use the Windows Phone 7 platform on Nokia’s handsets.
In my opinion, webOS never stood a chance against stiff competition from Apple and Google. A part of that has to do with webOS, while a good operating system (OS), was meant more for consumers and not businesses. HP’s focus is on the business world, competing with the likes of IBM and Cisco and not with the Apples of the world.
I think HP pulling the plug on the TouchPad and webOS and getting out of the consumer space was not a bad decision.
HP should never have gotten into the tablet space in the first place and the market is beating the company up for it but not for pulling the TouchPad off store shelves so quickly but for purchasing Palm in the first place for $1.2 billion.
Another reason the TouchPad and webOS flopped was because HP failed to evolve in the app world and get developers on-board.
What this says to me is executing on your partner strategy and your ISV developer strategy is critical. Apple knew it had to have a really amazing user experience and a great device experience but also had to have a whole bunch of apps that added value to that device. Palm and HP just completely missed the boat on that.
At the end of day, I think someone is going to buy HP’s patents as the company has publicly said it will license the webOS technology to anybody who is willing to make a go of it; there might be more value in the patents.
Let’s face it; it is all in the patents. Google and Apple are in major patent battles over smart phone and tablet-related operating system software which is partly why Google bought Motorola Mobility.
Did HP give up too soon on the TouchPad and webOS? I don’t think so because we all know that there is going to be only two players in the tablet OS space. Yes, we will see plenty of tablet manufacturers for businesses and consumers but users are only going to have two choices in the operating system world. It is going to come down to Android and iOS as to who will be the ultimate winner.