There’s going to be a lot of analysis to come, but here’s my first reactions to the news that HP will buy Palm for $1.2B.
For one, I’m glad that Palm is going to survive. The WebOS received a lot of acclaim as a technology, yet it never took off. The PDK they release just a few months ago has helped make WebOS a great platform for developers. But Palm never had the resources to put behind the company and the developer community to really allow Palm to compete on a relatively level playing field. That changes today.
And let me talk more about how HP will supercharge WebOS’ position in the minds of the developer. The most important part of this new pairing is HP’s position within the enterprise. HP will now make a big push to make their new WebOS-based devices (phones and tablets, count on it) in the hands of the enterprise user. This will encourage developers to embrace the WebOS and start porting apps to it in force in order to reach the enterprise. This is very bad news in my mind for RIM and Microsoft who finally thought they had something with their new Windows Phone 7 OS to be launched at the end of year. As they say, timing is everything.
OK, time for a quick take on how this impacts the other players in the industry:
- Apple: Probably not that much of an impact. Apple never really targeted the enterprise buyer, although is first in the hearts of many professionals who work in the enterprise. They have a very loyal, fanatical following and there’s no way that this announcement creates even a blip on the radar.
- Google: Pretty similar story to Apple, although without the fanatical following (except perhaps in the developer community). Google is still well positioned and also will be greatly unaffected.
Ooh, are they screwed:
- RIM: Even with the impending release of the Blackberry OS 6, they are in for the fight of their life. I truly believe the future of the company may be in doubt for the first time. RIM has lived on the enterprise and has been the defacto standard for many companies. But again I come back to HP’s power in the enterprise and this does not bode well.
- Dell: Their entry into the market is now still-born. ‘nuf fsaid.
- Microsoft: All of a sudden the fact that the end-of-year release of the new Windows Phone7 OS is a gigantic problem. HP was not only a large partner for Microsoft from an OS perspective, they’re going to be going gangbusters on marketing an excellent OS and product before the first new Windows Phone sees the light of day (unless its left in a bar by accident). This impacts not just Microsoft’s phone strategy, but their plans of introducing Windows7 tablets into the market. Remember that CES announcement of the HP Slate powered by Windows7? No more.
- Nokia: Are they even in the smartphone business anymore? MeeGo is effectively dead and perhaps Nokia becomes a Europe/EMEA-only player. Good luck with margins in the African sub-continent.
One last thought. This might also be good news for Adobe. Flash 10.1 mobile is scheduled to be supported by Palm’s WebOS, so this will be another beachhead for them against Apple.
So what do you think the impact will be? Did I miss anything? Please add your thoughts in the comments.