Count one company out of the WebOS sweepstakes: Samsung’s CEO told reporters on the sidelines of the IFA consumer electronics conference this week that his company would “never” acquire HP’s mobile operating system and is instead focused on its own software.
HP’s unexpected decision to pull the plug on WebOS hardware just six weeks after it introduced its TouchPad tablet was accompanied by insistent claims from company representatives that WebOS itself was not dead, and would live on in some other fashion. But it’s getting harder and harder to figure out exactly how that’s going to happen if one of the most likely suitors for the mobile OS scoffs at the notion of purchasing the technology.
Gee-Sung Choi, Samsung’s CEO, told reporters in response to questions about WebOS that it would “never” acquire the software, according to a report by Bloomberg. “It’s not right that acquiring an operating system is becoming a fashion,” he was quoted as saying.
Samsung has two mobile software strategies: it’s a huge partner with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Android for smartphones such as the Galaxy S II and tablets like the ones introduced at IFA. It also has developed its own Bada mobile operating system, which is used on lower-end feature phones.
But after Google sent shockwaves through the mobile world with its decision to purchase Samsung competitor Motorola (NYSE: MMI) for $12.5 billion, companies like Samsung and HTC were believed to be rethinking their dependence on a company with which they might soon be competing. Choi’s comments don’t rule out the notion that Samsung could cut a licensing deal with HP (NYSE: HPQ) for WebOS, but like Google, Samsung is facing quite a bit of patent-related drama around the world and was seen as a company potentially interested acquiring in the patents owned by the former Palm.
So what’s next for WebOS? We still don’t really know. It doesn’t appear, however, that Samsung is looking at Google’s decision to purchase Motorola as a prompt to bring more mobile software expertise in-house: Choi said Samsung was working “harder than people outside think” on its existing technology.