HP chief plans WebOS on every machine but do users want it?


HP chief plans WebOS on every machine but do users want it?

HP CEO Léo Apotheker is reported to have revealed plans to include the WebOS on every PC the vendor ships from 2012 onwards. Not that it's getting rid of Windows, you understand, but it will ship WebOs alongside the Microsoft product on every machine.

While WebOS has been, to date, an operating system for Palm smartphones, it is set to power HP's TouchPad tablets which are due in the summer, although there are reports it could arrive earlier.

The move to include it on desktops and laptops has been mooted by HP but the expectation was it would be a gradual process. Apotheker's comments suggest he is keen to do things in a faster and more radical way. 

If people start using WebOS on PCs, it will give HP some clout with Microsoft and leave it less reliant on Windows. It would also open up the possibility of a more fragmented and potentially much more interesting desktop OS environment going forward. 

There could be an attraction for people who buy Touchpads or HP smartphones to run WebOS on their HP PC but the potential for confusion also exists if they have two OSes on their desktop. How will they decide which one to use and how  will HP get those without Touchpads or phones to take any notice of WebOS on their PC? Will it annoy Microsoft in the process?

You can see the attraction for HP of using its massive PC and laptop production to market its own product at the same time, but it might not turn out to be such a positive if users take exception to another piece of software loaded onto their machine that they didn't ask for.

This was first published in March 2011

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