HP may license its webOS operating system to other handset manufacturers such as HTC, according to HP CEO Leo Apotheker.
Speaking at the All Things Digital Conference, Apotheker (pictured) said there was no reason to limit what he described as ‘outstanding’ operating system to HP hardware. Palm and its webOS operating system were acquired by HP last year in a £730m deal
Asked if HP would let rivals use the OS, such as allowing HTC to make a webOS phone, Apotheker said: ‘That is certainly something that we would entertain.’
He added that HP plans to make webOS available across a range of manufacturer’s devices.
He said: ‘I happen to believe that webOS is a uniquely outstanding operating system. So there’s no reason to believe that the only hardware that could run it are HP's.'
He added: ‘Why wouldn't we try to make it available to other people,’ explaining that partners need not be hardware makers in ‘the classical IT sense’, but could include appliance manufacturers.
‘We'd like to make webOS available to these people, just as we're going to make webOS available to enterprises or indeed to small and medium businesses to create whatever kind of environment within their own firewall,’ he said.
‘From that perspective, yes, webOS will be running on more than just inside or on top of a particular type of piece of hardware that HP will make.’
HP also intends to ship webOS on its PCs, alongside Windows. Apotheker said: ‘It will go on every PC that we’ll ship ... in the beginning, webOS will sit on top of Windows. But the intention is to get it out there on every PC.’
He added that the webOS ecosystem would be on 100 to 110 million devices a year across Palm handsets, HP printers and PCs, and the TouchPad tablet.