HP CEO Says Palm Wasn't Purchased To Surge In Smartphone Market

Well, this will surely come as a disappointment to many, and it may honestly make others a bit excited. Hewlett-Packard, who decided to pony up just over $1 billion earlier in the year to acquire Palm and their assets, has now openly stated that the purchase wasn't about cellphones at all. On the surface, this doesn't make a lot of sense. Palm has always been known to consumers as a mobile device company, with the Treo and Pre/Pixi families being some of the company's most popular. And HP has been in the mobile device market for awhile now, mostly with the creation of Windows Mobile-based business smartphones.

So why would HP spend over a billion dollars on a phone company, but not use the purchase to further their phone efforts? According to the CEO, it's simply all about the IP. Here's CEO Mark Hurd's exact quote on the matter:

"We didn’t buy Palm to be in the smartphone business. And I tell people that, but it doesn’t seem to resonate well. We bought it for the IP. The WebOS is one of the two ground-up pieces of software that is built as a web operating environment…We have tens of millions of HP small form factor web-connected devices…Now imagine that being a web-connected environment where now you can get a common look and feel and a common set of services laid against that environment. That is a very value proposition."

Now, we understand the point about WebOS being a great operating system. And we already knew that WebOS would likely find its way onto tablet PCs and printers before too long. But we never imagined that HP would simply ignore the phone market altogether. Honestly, this means the world now has one less major smartphone platform to choose from, and less competition in a market is never a good thing in a situation like this. Only a few WebOS smartphones were ever made available, and now that HP is basically killing that family, who really expects developers to continue developing apps for the WebOS app market?

We understand how HP could utilize WebOS in their existing product range, and we're sure that using that environment will provide them with great advantages. But to have such an amazing mobile OS and simply ignore the smartphone market seems like an opportunity missed to us, and even if it makes business sense somehow, it certainly saddens us to see a major OS option fade away, leaving iPhone OS, Android and Symbian^3 to battle it out with Windows Phone 7.