Now, I’m not saying that Meg Whitman reads my blog or calls me for advice, but I’m glad to see they followed my suggestion last month to make WebOS an open source project.
Open sourcing WebOS and HP’s statements of continued financial support to the project, really gives WebOS one last chance to fulfill its promise. Although it’s hard to really know what the plan is from Whitman’s and Andreesen’s recent comments.
When HP originally bought Palm, I thought it would give WebOS a chance to be embraced by the developer community. I figured the combination of HP’s resources to both take the product to the next level and make it a mainstream alternative in the enterprise (both via HP’s market position in desktop and mobile devices) plus the strong developer relationships it had accumulated via its other software products would push WebOS into a viable competitor to Apple and Google, or at least to the top of the second tier among RIM and Microsoft.
If I were a handset manufacturer, WebOS could give me cover in case the litigation between Oracle and Google or Apple and the Android OEMs goes the wrong way. Or as a way to differentiate its devices from the other OEMs instead of developing it’s own OS as Samsung has done with Bada. I’m not sure however, as some have suggested, that WebOS would provide any leverage for an OEM in discussions with Google or Microsoft.
Personally I hope the open source community throws its efforts behind WebOS. I think it is at worst the 4th best platform alternative out there (iOS, Android, WP7, WebOS, then QNX). But one of my favorite quotes is “Hope is not a plan” (h/t @michaelombardi), so I hope that Meg and Marc have a plan.
What’s your POV?