Amazon has joined the long list of tech giants rumored to be eyeing HP’s lame-duck webOS mobile operating system.
On Thursday, citing a “well-placed source,” VentureBeat reported that among a handful of suitors, Amazon is the “closest” to landing webOS, which HP acquired from Palm in 2010, hailed as an operating system that would reinvent everything from smartphones to PCs to printers, and then put out to pasture after little more than a year of development.
Though HP has been nothing short of utterly confusing with its webOS strategy, the operating system was never short of admirers. And according to reports, HTC, Samsung, and even Facebook have considering buying the thing. As is typical when such rumors surface, HP stayed mum when reached for comment.
Android has been hit with all sorts of litigation over the last several months, with big names such as Apple and Oracle claiming patent and copyright infringement, and Microsoft is pressuring Android manufacturers into patent licensing deals. Having its own operating system would help keep Amazon out of the fire. Unlike other rumored webOS suitors, Amazon not only competes with Apple in the tablet market, but also as a media content provider.
Amazon could not be reached immediately for comment, but there are certain signs within the company that give the rumor some credence. Late last year, Jon Rubenstein, the former CEO of Palm, joined Amazon’s board of directors. Then, in July, in a move that many saw as a demotion due to poor performance, he was given a new role within HP as senior vice president of innovation — a fairly ambiguous title.
Shortly thereafter, Rubenstein did an interview with This is my next where he said: “Amazon would certainly make a great partner, because they have a lot of characteristics that would help them expand the webOS ecosystem. As to whether there’s been discussions or not … that’s obviously not something I’m going to comment about.”