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] relationship with Motorola," Whitman said in her keynote presentation at HP's company's global partner summit in Las Vegas, according to Channel EMEA.
"I think there is room for another operating system," she said. "iOS is great but it is a closed system." Android is currently open – as long as you're not relying on getting all the info about the latest and greatest versions under development – but Whitman suggests that developers not bank on it remaining so.
Without as much as a nod to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 or upcoming tablet-capable Windows 8 – or, for that matter the MeeGo/Bada open source Tizen mashup or any other mobile OS – Whitman positioned webOS as the go-to alternative to Apple and Google's offerings.
Not that she believes that there will be any mad rush to webOS. "These things take time, she believes. "We decided to contribute webOS to the open source community," she said, "and this will take three to four years to play out."
Whether the timer counting those three or four years has already begun to tick, or if it will begin with the full release of Open webOS 1.0 in September, Whitman didn't say. Time will tell, however, if Whitman's Android remarks prove her to be a prescient prognosticator or merely a muddled FUD-flinger, but we respectfully opine that the latter is more likely.
If Google were to take Android proprietary, it would be a full-employment act for legal teams, as Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei, and every other Android hardware vendor lined up to sue Larry Page's pants off.
It's also difficult to fathom how it would be in Google's own interests to limit its operating system to one vendor – after all, each and every Android platform out there is driving eyeballs to Google's revenue source: advertising.
And as much respect as we may have for webOS, the world is not exactly crying out for another mobile operating system for which there is essentially no developer community.
Perhaps Whitman was merely feeling her oats, energized not only the presence of over 3,000 channel partners in her audience, but also by the fact that she – credit where credit is due – appears to have brought HP back from the wacko fracturing of the painful months during which short-term CEO Léo Apotheker was in full-flounder form.
After all, she did present a confident personna at the event. "We've got our swagger back," she told the crowd. ®