HP and the WebOS

  • Posted: 14 June 2011 03:48 PM

    Is HP the 800-lb. gorilla in the room as the company advances development of the Web OS and ships all new PCs beginning in 2012 with dual boot (Windows and WebOS)?

    Can HP find success in the mobile device market with a proprietary OS wedded to HP hardware?

    I’m looking for answers. So far I’m not seeing much in digital print that suggests HP will be a credible competitor in the mobile device market following the acquisition of Palm.

    Considering the size, depth of resources and the company’s leadership in the enterprise market the company is too influential to dismiss. HP remains the world’s #1 PC maker and with that position comes considerable clout.

    Should WebOS be taking seriously as a potential disruptive force in the handheld device market?

         
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    Posted: 14 June 2011 04:43 PM #1

    DawnTreader - 14 June 2011 06:48 PM

    Should WebOS be taking seriously as a potential disruptive force in the handheld device market?

    WebOS is an impressive mobile operating system, but it takes more than the OS to make a disruptive force. HP’s first hardware offerings of the Veer & Pre 3 are weak. The PlayBook looks more promising, but we’ll have to see when reviewers actually get to spend time with it.

    The third major piece of the puzzle is the app ecosystem. This is basically non-existent so far. My layman’s opinion is that developers will target iOS first and Android a distant second. That leaves WP7 and WebOS fighting for a very distant third place.

    Both HP & Microsoft are formidable companies, but I don’t think they are anywhere close to impeding the rocket ship that Apple is riding. I continue to believe that Apple does not look behind their shoulder; they are straining forward to create the absolutely best products and services. They are competing against themselves, trying to better their previous accomplishments.

         
  • Posted: 14 June 2011 04:57 PM #2

    DawnTreader - 14 June 2011 06:48 PM

    Is HP the 800-lb. gorilla in the room as the company advances development of the Web OS and ships all new PCs beginning in 2012 with dual boot (Windows and WebOS)?

    Can HP find success in the mobile device market with a proprietary OS wedded to HP hardware?

    I’m looking for answers. So far I’m not seeing much in digital print that suggests HP will be a credible competitor in the mobile device market following the acquisition of Palm.

    Considering the size, depth of resources and the company’s leadership in the enterprise market the company is too influential to dismiss. HP remains the world’s #1 PC maker and with that position comes considerable clout.

    Should WebOS be taking seriously as a potential disruptive force in the handheld device market?

    I have maintained for some time that the only real competition to iOS will come from HP.  Nothing has occurred to change my feelings about that.

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    Posted: 14 June 2011 06:06 PM #3

    Gregg Thurman - 14 June 2011 07:57 PM
    DawnTreader - 14 June 2011 06:48 PM

    Is HP the 800-lb. gorilla in the room as the company advances development of the Web OS and ships all new PCs beginning in 2012 with dual boot (Windows and WebOS)?

    Can HP find success in the mobile device market with a proprietary OS wedded to HP hardware?

    I’m looking for answers. So far I’m not seeing much in digital print that suggests HP will be a credible competitor in the mobile device market following the acquisition of Palm.

    Considering the size, depth of resources and the company’s leadership in the enterprise market the company is too influential to dismiss. HP remains the world’s #1 PC maker and with that position comes considerable clout.

    Should WebOS be taking seriously as a potential disruptive force in the handheld device market?

    I have maintained for some time that the only real competition to iOS will come from HP.  Nothing has occurred to change my feelings about that.

    +1

    They are the big dog I am watching

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  • Posted: 14 June 2011 06:49 PM #4

    It’s interesting to now have three members watching HP as the potential primary competitor to Apple in the mobile digital device markets.

    We may be seeing the end of the OS for hire revenue and market model with the leaders in the industry all offering operating systems wedded to exclusive hardware devices.

         
  • Posted: 14 June 2011 08:04 PM #5

    Make that 4. From what I’ve read I think Apotheker “gets it”, and if he can turn his thoughts into well-executed outcomes they could do well.

    The problem for Leo is the size of the gorilla. Turning the HP beast to focus on this is a monumental task.

         
  • Posted: 14 June 2011 10:22 PM #6

    DawnTreader - 14 June 2011 09:49 PM

    It’s interesting to now have three members watching HP as the potential primary competitor to Apple in the mobile digital device markets.

    We may be seeing the end of the OS for hire revenue and market model with the leaders in the industry all offering operating systems wedded to exclusive hardware devices.

    The “Cloud” is OS agnostic.

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  • Posted: 14 June 2011 11:37 PM #7

    DawnTreader - 14 June 2011 06:48 PM

    Is HP the 800-lb. gorilla in the room as the company advances development of the Web OS and ships all new PCs beginning in 2012 with dual boot (Windows and WebOS)?

    Can HP find success in the mobile device market with a proprietary OS wedded to HP hardware?

    I’m looking for answers. So far I’m not seeing much in digital print that suggests HP will be a credible competitor in the mobile device market following the acquisition of Palm.

    Considering the size, depth of resources and the company’s leadership in the enterprise market the company is too influential to dismiss. HP remains the world’s #1 PC maker and with that position comes considerable clout.

    Should WebOS be taking seriously as a potential disruptive force in the handheld device market?

    HP is a force to be reckoned with.  They are more likely to survive in the cell phone business than Microsoft.

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  • Posted: 15 June 2011 01:12 AM #8

    Gregg Thurman - 14 June 2011 07:57 PM

    I have maintained for some time that the only real competition to iOS will come from HP.  Nothing has occurred to change my feelings about that.

    I agree with Greg.  In fact I could have typed his post almost exactly as he did had he not beaten me to it.  My only quibble would be that I think a Ballmerless Microsoft could become a strong competitor.

    Despite enormous blunders, starting with the hiring of Carly, the firing of Carly, the war with Hewlett’s heir, the board leaks, the Hurd firing, and the recent board purge, they remain a company with important assets.

    HP’s international footprint is unsurpassed by any American company.  Their printer business prints money.  WebOS.  Shelf space.  Brand.  Enterprise relationships.  And manufacturing know-how to name a few.  The big question is Leo, but don’t forget that they also picked up Lane in the recent kerfuffle.

    We will know a lot more in seven months.

         
  • Posted: 15 June 2011 01:20 AM #9

    I listen to a variety* of podcasts and over the past week, I’ve been shocked by the negative reactions to the upcoming HP tablet. I was expecting an enthusiastic or, at worst, a guarded reception. But a couple of these guys just completely wrote the HP tablet off.

    Now, of course, what these guys say doesn’t count a whit. All that matters is how the tablet performs. But if this anecdotal evidence is any indication, then HP has already lost the confidence of the press and pundits. They’ve got a long road to hoe.

    *I did not keep track of where I heard these comments. I’m going to guess TWIT, PCWorld, SAI and definitely ThisIsMyNext.

         
  • Posted: 15 June 2011 11:38 PM #10

    Gregg Thurman - 15 June 2011 01:22 AM
    DawnTreader - 14 June 2011 09:49 PM

    It’s interesting to now have three members watching HP as the potential primary competitor to Apple in the mobile digital device markets.

    We may be seeing the end of the OS for hire revenue and market model with the leaders in the industry all offering operating systems wedded to exclusive hardware devices.

    The “Cloud” is OS agnostic.

    True. But it’s an issue of device margin and pricing control. The PC makers lost pricing control years ago and it’s leading to the economic irrelevance of the PC. With Microsoft’s Nokia strategy it will become more challenging to license the mobile version of Windows to OEMs and HP is slowly stepping away from the Microsoft tether.

    The issue is whether or not the market model deployed by Google with the Android OS and the traditional OS license model exploited by Microsoft for years is a competitive approach in the handheld device market.

         
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    Posted: 17 June 2011 12:12 PM #11

    WebOS is very impressive and it could become a force in the market if they develop an ecosystem and fast. I do think that HP’s gains will come at the expense of Android. Apple has shown that there is a demand for integrated hardware and software from one company coupled with a safe, curated marketplace. IMO there is also a substantial “anyone but Apple” core using Android, bit not happy with the wild-west use at your own risk Marketplace. Given an Apple-like but not from Apple choice I think a chunk of the Android base could jump ship. HP has the reputation and name recognition to pull it off.
    Predictions:
    I don’t think it will make a huge difference to Apple
    I do think it will severely cut into Android
    I think it could drive a stake into RIM (Corporate environments already use a lot of HP hardware so an HP iPad won’t be as scary as an Apple iPad especially if it’s more user customizable.)
    MS will fiddle about with single to very low double digit percentage until they kill WP7 and Nokia off for another wasteful boondoggle.

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  • Posted: 17 June 2011 12:28 PM #12

    Gregg Thurman - 15 June 2011 01:22 AM
    DawnTreader - 14 June 2011 09:49 PM

    The “Cloud” is OS agnostic.

    True. But it’s an issue of device margin and pricing control. The PC makers lost pricing control years ago and it’s leading to the economic irrelevance of the PC. With Microsoft’s Nokia strategy it will become more challenging to license the mobile version of Windows to OEMs and HP is slowly stepping away from the Microsoft tether.

    The issue is whether or not the market model deployed by Google with the Android OS and the traditional OS license model exploited by Microsoft for years is a competitive approach in the handheld device market.

    BECAUSE the web is OS agnostic I think Google’s strategy is doomed. Multiple vendors of the same OS does one of two things a/ fragmentation of the OS, or b/ extreme commoditization of the products using that OS.  Fragmentation is an attempt to differentiate. The problem with that kind of differentiation, is that the consumer isn’t smart enough to recognize the differentiations among products carrying the same name.

    Vertically controlled products and ecostems will rule this time around. That means Apple and HP, and maybe MSFT/NOK if MSFT goes vertical in a partnership with NOK.

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    Posted: 17 June 2011 02:09 PM #13

    There will be room in mobile computing for both vertical/integrated and horizontal/fragmented ecosystems. RIM’s Blackberry, for example, is a vertical ecosystem gone wrong. On the horizontal ecosystem side, HTC & Samsung are doing well using Android on their mobile devices.

    Consumers don’t make purchasing decisions based on vertical vs horizontal ideological debates. They look at hardware, software (apps, not OS per se), UX & price. HP/WebOS will succeed based on those criteria.

    The Veer is the first device they’ve released under the HP brand. Total fail. We’ll see how consumers respond to the TouchPad & Pre 3. I will be very surprised if they sell better than Samsung’s Tab 10.1 and Galaxy S2 phones.

         
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    Posted: 17 June 2011 06:19 PM #14

    I never dismiss the competition outright (I try not to, anyway), but until they show otherwise (as Android has), I don’t see them as a “threat” either.

    webOS is that intriguing dark horse competitor that’s used as an excuse to provide a “fresh threat” to iOS in the media and slice off a couple bucks from AAPL here and there. 

    HP the company is big, but its focus is all over the place, partly because of its number of business lines, partly because it needs refocusing on the stuff it does.  For instance, its PC business - y’know what guys, I guess touch panel all-in-ones aren’t setting the world on fire.  HP also needs to work on its -5% YOY PC sales.  Meanwhile, Apple combines the startup mentality and ruthless efficiency with laser focus, and all but one business line - iPod, which has met market maturity long ago and is a sort of “cash cow” excepting the iPod touch line - is still growing. 

    HP also has certain realities, by which I mean “baggage.”  $12.74B in cash, against about $23B in debt.  A profit margin of 7.2%.  Rev growth of 2.5%, earnings growth of maybe 5% (all sourced from Yahoo! Finance).  HP is an extremely mature tech company with push and pull from multiple business divisions.  Is it anywhere near as nimble as Google?  And I’m sorry, but from what I’ve seen, the Palm team doesn’t have visible all-stars like Forstall leading the way.  Never mind software - I’m still confused by that weird connector system on the Veer(ed off the side of the road).

    I’m not saying webOS can’t be a viable mobile device OS.  It’s still so early and there’s a lot of territory to stake out, but let’s see webOS rival Android (no, throwing webOS on all your PCs doesn’t count as market share) before we jump to conclusions about webOS being the #2 behind Apple anytime soon.

    [ Edited: 17 June 2011 06:26 PM by Mav ]

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    Posted: 17 June 2011 09:09 PM #15

    IMO very few Windows users would run WebOS on a PC. And w/o that paired technology like OS X and iOS their ecosystem will be restricted. I’ve always respected HP hardware design but I’m not sure they have the big picture focus for the SW side. I guess we’ll see. And they can’t just give away the stuff. The development costs of SW are huge compared to the HW development costs. So will PC buyers pay extra for the integrated package? I do with Apple HW but the average computer and phone buyer in the PC world focuses almost entirely on the price of the HW and what free or cheap software they can get. I believe there’s a niche there for the sophisticated PC users that HP can start to grow a reputation with, but how long and how many $ will it take. Wall St has very little patience

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