Now that Hewlett-Packard appears to be a little tipsy, not really knowing where it is and what it’s doing, Reuters is reporting that the company is working on selling its webOS operating system. HP acquired webOS as part of its purchase of Palm, made a big fuss about the whole thing, and then let it fizzle out. The company rumoured buy webOS? Oracle.
Oracle? How does that work, you ask? Well, Oracle has close ties to Apple, since Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison, was one of Steve Jobs’ closest friends. This explains – in large part – Oracle’s interest in suing Google over Android’s use of Java technologies. Since Oracle probably has some spare change lying around, a purchase of webOS and associated IP may give them some additional patents to sue others with.
On top of that, and this is the less cynical explanation, Mark Hurd, HP’s former CEO who got ousted a little over a year ago, now works at Oracle. Hurd led HP’s purchase of Palm, and he may still be interested in doing something with Palm’s technology. This would, however, require Oracle actually building something other than enterprise products – say, devices. Or, maybe, a licensing scheme.
Something I don’t find very likely, so I’m just going to stick with the former option.
The first version of Reuter’s article mentioned several other companies who were interested in buying webOS: other than Oracle, it listed Amazon, Research In Motion, IBM, and Intel. Amazon makes some sense, since the company might be using Android, but only the lower-level stuff. RIM doesn’t make sense, but then again, when is the last time RIM did something that made sense? IBM and Intel buy random stuff all the time, so that wouldn’t be surprising either.
I sincerely hope webOS isn’t going to end up at Oracle. Ever since its botched handling of the Sun acquisition, and its patent trolling over Android, I’ve grown to dislike Oracle quite deeply, and seeing something as fun and interesting as webOS end up in their hands makes me very sad.