Samsung may have declared itself unwilling to purchase a mobile operating system in the wake of Google’s decision to acquire Motorola (NYSE: MMI), but HTC is at least thinking about it. That’s according to the company’s chairman, who cautioned that it won’t be doing anything hastily.
Cher Wang told China’s Economic Observer (via Focus Taiwan) that HTC has “given it thought and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse,” as if mobile operating systems could be found next to the Skittles in the supermarket checkout line. However, HTC also doesn’t necessarily think it needs to own and control an operating system: “Our strength lies in understanding an OS, but it does not mean that we have to produce an OS,” she said.
Were HTC to consider buying a mobile operating system, there’s really only one for sale. HP (NYSE: HPQ) is trying to figure out what to do with WebOS after decided that it couldn’t stomach the smartphone and tablet markets, ceasing production of its TouchPad tablet and moving the WebOS group under its chief strategy officer. Both an outright sale of the division and licensing deals are believed to be on the table.
HTC already has a dual-pronged mobile OS strategy with both Android and Windows Phone 7 models, but there’s not an Android partner alive that isn’t at least thinking about its options for a world in which Google (NSDQ: GOOG) owns Motorola. Google has said it will operate Motorola as a stand-alone division and Android partners have lined up in support of the patent protection the deal affords Android, but it’s quite possible that Google eventually decides to build its own hardware and compete with its partners.
In most cases, that doesn’t work out in the long run for those partners. Samsung ruled out a purchase of WebOS last month, but it is also investing in its own Bada software.