The WebOS era at HP came to an inauspicious end Monday when the tech giant announced it had sold the mobile operating system to LG Electronics.
But WebOS won't be used for LG smartphones or tablets; the South Korean company said it will use the platform for its Smart TVs. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but LG will acquire the WebOS source code and development team from HP, along with various patents, licenses and other WebOS-related materials.
"This groundbreaking development demonstrates LG's commitment to investing in talent and research in Silicon Valley, one of the world's innovation hotbeds. It creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices," said Skott Ahn, president and chief technology officer at LG Electronics, in a press statement. "The open and transparent WebOS technology offers a compelling user experience that, when combined with our own technology, will pave the way for future innovations using the latest Web technologies."
LG said it has no plans for any mobile devices running WebOS; the company has already hitched its mobile wagon to Android. The company did say it will continue to support WebOS for existing Palm device users. Ahn also stated that the WebOS business unit "will be the heart and soul of the new LG Silicon Valley Lab," where LG's U.S.-based research and development will be headquartered.
HP, meanwhile, said it will retain all of Palm's cloud computing assets, including engineering staff, source code, infrastructure and customer contracts. HP, however, didn't say what specific cloud technology those assets included.
"LG's track record of innovation and broad distribution provides this opportunity, while enabling HP to accelerate our cloud efforts," Bill Veghte, HP's chief operating officer, said in a press statement. "In particular, with the cloud assets that will remain with HP, we will focus on delivering innovative solutions that will enable our enterprise customers to mobilize their workforce."
LG had shown interest in WebOS last year when reports emerged that the company was working with Gram, HP's spin-off company for WebOS, on developing a version of open-source operating system for televisions.
NEXT: Major Move For HP
The sale of WebOS marks the end for HP's failed acquisition of Palm. HP purchased Palm for $1.2 billion in 2010, and the deal was seen as a major move for HP -- both for its mobile device ambitions and the company's relationship with Microsoft.
While HP hyped its forthcoming WebOS products the following year, the consumer-focused TouchPad was discontinued after just six weeks on the market and HP suddenly ceased all WebOS product development. The drastic course reversal for HP's mobile strategy was further punctuated when HP announced it was developing a Windows 8 tablet.
In late 2011, HP rolled out plans to re-release WebOS as an open-source product. The troubled times continued for Web OS last year as the Palm business unit suffered layoffs and numerous executive departures.
HP continued to distance itself from Palm when it announced it would spin its WebOS business off as a new company called Gram. HP had been quiet on plans for Gram and the newly open-sourced WebOS until today's announcement.
PUBLISHED FEB. 25, 2013