LG Buys webOS for New Smart TV Products

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LG is apparently in the process of buying webOS from HP to use as the foundation for a line of smart televisions it plans to launch in 2014. According to sources, the deal includes HP's entire webOS Global Business Unit, the complete webOS source code, all of the employees, and related patents.

LG Buys webOS for new smart TV lineupLG Buys webOS for new smart TV lineup

The OS will be used to power HDTVs that LG plans to strat showing off at CES in 2014, according to webOS Nation's sources.

webOS began life as Palm before the company was purchased by HP for about US$1.2 billion. After a series of false starts with its own webOS-based products, HP abandoned the platform and turned it over to the open source community.

Without HP offering any real backing for webOS, it isn't a big surprise that the assets have been sold off since the platform was still draining company resources without showing any payoff.

For LG, the deal means it has a new platform to replace NetCast on smart TVs, and that could potentially bring new life to the company's smart HDTV lineup.

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webOS had the potential to be a real iOS competitor when it was introduced by Palm. Thanks to Palm's mismanagement, that never happened and HP didn't do much to keep the OS alive. webOS probably won't show up on LG's smartphones or tablets, so don't expect to see much happen with it beyond the television market.

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Where is the foundation for claiming Palm’s WebOS was mismanaged? It essentially came up with a decent product, but were outgunned and didn’t make enough in sales to compete. It was the underdog.

The real tragedy was Apple along with HP put a bid in on Palm. Apple was going to keep Palm going. At the time, it could have backed Palm’s WebOS on Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint as Apple itself was locked on AT&T. That could have potentially killed Android before it got going.

Apple could also used Palm today to compete in emerging markets keeping its high end products separate.


LG bought the rights to use the WebOS code. HP still owns WebOS according to other news media sources. Just thought I would throw that in there.


This could give LG a jump on any official future Apple Television product, although I’m not sure how much it will help them in the long run. If Apple adapts iOS to TV devices beyond the current AppleTV, we’ll almost certainly see Android-based devices soon after (and Microsoft will probably compete through Xbox rather than licensees).

The question is whether building a customer base on the user experience in advance will make up for the lack of installed base of apps later on.

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