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May 19, 2010

HP Wants Palm’s WebOS for Web-connected Printers

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by Franz Bicar

Hewlett-Packard announced its plans to acquire Palm for $1.2 billion a few weeks ago. A lot of people were wondering what would happen to Palm’s WebOS now that HP has the rights to it. Those questions were answered by HP’s CEO, Mark Hurd, during a conference call for HP’s second quarter 2010 earnings. On the call, Hurd revealed several details on the company’s plans for the mobile OS.

Hurd said that HP will acquire Palm in order to enhance their intellectual property in the connected-mobility space. They expect to leverage WebOS into a variety of form factors, including slates and Web-connected printers. With a whole series of Web-connected printers, as they connect to the Web, they need an OS

Since the WebOS is a touch-screen mobile operating system, one might assume that HP is targeting tablets with WebOS. P’s Todd Bradley later confirmed that, telling analysts that HP would “invest heavily” in WebOS, and use it on slate PCs, Netbooks, and phones. But for web-connected printers, that’s news.

Printers are a significant business for HP - in the most recent quarter the HP imaging and printing division made $6.4 billion in revenue, out of the total of over $30 billion. So it’s not that crazy that they’d want to put its newest toy, WebOS, to work in that area.

Taking its current ambitions for its printer strategy, an operating system that could be synched with and access apps already on a smartphone and/or a tablet doesn’t then seem that surprising.

Story link: HP Wants Palm’s WebOS for Web-connected Printers


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