HP Buys Palm

April 29th, 2010

They actually seem to get it: that if you want a successful touch-based tablet device, you can’t succeed with a mouse-based PC operating system. That’s one of the reasons tablets failed before the iPad: they were PCs trying to act like tablets. Apple was the first successful company to realize that tablets were waiting for multitouch, and multitouch was waiting for tablets, and they couldn’t succeed without each other, at least not at first. So HP woke up and said, “crap, we’ve gotta get an OS that doesn’t suck on a tablet!” And so they bought Palm, probably because it’s the next most-used touch-based OS after iPhone and Android, neither of which they could buy and control. Whether it’s a good enough OS and will work for HP, or if HP can make it work, is another question.

Categories: Computers and the Internet, iPad Tags: by
  1. Troy
    April 29th, 2010 at 10:49 | #1

    The WebOS approach has the advantage that it will work better as device performance increases, kinda like how the Mac blossomed once we got 4MB of RAM and megabytes of fixed storage.

    Doing the UI in DHTML is an interesting idea but as the article you linked to stated, trying to maneuver between Apple, Google, Microsoft (plus RIMM and Intel with their netbook direction, AND plus Symbian with its legacy marketshare and momentum) is going to be tough.

    Developers, developers, developers.

    $1.2B clams could build a better OS than WebOS tho.

    That’s about 6,000 man-years at $200K per.

    Tools and runtime team at 10 people, OS & developer support at 30 people, app development at 50 people, marketing at 20 people, management at 30 people-equivalent, hardware team at 50 people, that’s ~200 people working for 30 years, LOL.

  2. Luis
    April 29th, 2010 at 10:56 | #2

    I agree, it would be better to go from the ground up–but HP probably figures that it’s too late, and that quick is better than good. With the iPad out, they likely figure that it’d be more smart to start with something that exists rather than spend a few years to develop something better, and maybe they can do both while not ceding the market to Apple during a critical period. Smacks of lack of foresight, though–they knew Apple was developing this a few years ago, and should have known they would do it well and succeed.

    The slap-something-together-at-the-last-minute approach has worked before, though. Microsoft bought Q-DOS after they made the IBM deal and slapped their initials on it, and when Apple came out with the GUI, they slapped a fudged-together GUI on top of MS-DOS and called it a GUI. Even though they didn’t make a true GUI-based OS for more than a decade after that, they still dominated the market with lower prices and an aggressive strategy. Maybe HP thinks they can get a piece of that.

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