HP may license its webOS operating system to other device manufacturers, HP CEO L�o Apotheker said during an interview at the D9 conference today. Apotheker said that he saw many companies with products they would like to connect to the Internet, and felt that webOS would be able to fill that need.
WebOS could be adopted by a number of "small to medium businesses," Apotheker noted, giving the examples of appliance makers, enterprises, and SMBs. Apotheker said he thought webOS is a uniquely outstanding operating system, and that "there's no reason to believe that the only hardware that can run it is HP's."
When presented with the hypothetical situation of a manufacturer approaching HP wanting to make a webOS phone, such as HTC, Apotheker said it was "certainly something we would entertain." However, AllThingsD noted that Jon Rubinstein, head of webOS development, said at Qualcomm's Uplinq conference that HP is not looking to license webOS broadly; in other words, webOS isn't looking to become an Android killer in addition to an iOS killer.
We like what we've seen of the new webOS so far on the HP Veer and the snippets of the HP TouchPad. But if the adoption of Android by so many manufacturers has proven one thing, it's that matching OS to hardware requires care and attention for it to result in a compelling device.