Facebook should buy webOS: analyst

Facebook should buy webOS: analyst

Summary: HP is trying to sell its webOS, and Facebook may be one of the few viable buyers, according to one analyst. The bigger question is whether Facebook can take a slick mobile operating system and make a big mobile move.

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HP is trying to sell its webOS, and Facebook may be one of the few viable buyers, according to one analyst. The bigger question is whether Facebook can take a slick mobile operating system and make a big mobile move.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek made the argument that Facebook could buy HP's webOS. The rationale goes like this:

Mobile media is integrated. Google has Android in a vertical stack that now includes hardware via the Motorola Mobility acquisition. Apple has its iOS integration with the iPhone. Microsoft and Nokia are connected at the hip. And RIM has its integrated hardware and software mobile stack. If Facebook is going to be a player, it needs to integrate its social services with an OS.

Mobile is gaining share. IDC reports that mobile internet usage is eclipsing wired access.

Developers and carriers want another smartphone ecosystem. Facebook could bring a lot of developers to the party.

Misek's bottom line:

HP has stated that they are attempting to sell webOS [the former Palm operating system]. Based on our analysis of prospective buyers and our checks, we believe Facebook is the best fit. We see this scenario as most negative to RIM and Windows 8, as there would be another major competitor vying to be the third mobile OS.

Misek arrives at his conclusion by ruling other parties out. Most smartphone makers seem to be gravitating to Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7. Others have their own OS and wouldn't need webOS. Misek added:

Due to Facebook's scale, developer community and movement toward media [eg, music] and communications [Messenger], it is possible that an acquisition of an OS asset like this could be a good option. Checks with developers indicate that they would support a potential Facebook OS, and industry sources have noted Facebook's historic interest in a mobile OS or heavily influencing one.

On paper, Misek's argument makes some sense. However, Facebook and the webOS wouldn't be a slam dunk. Among the headaches that the webOS would bring, Facebook would have to align carriers, design hardware, or at least manage outsourced options and certify devices on wireless networks, and Facebook would have to integrate the social graph with an OS that has potential, but couldn't gain traction under its two previous owners.

Of course, Facebook could buy the webOS and form some venture to create a Facebook phone, but it still takes management time.

WebOS could be a huge distraction to Facebook at a time where it is under fire from Google and its Google+ social network. The good news for Facebook is that it appears to managing Google well, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it needs to run out and buy webOS and bail HP out.

Via ZDNet US

Topics: Mobility, Hewlett-Packard, Social Enterprise

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2 comments
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  • I have been looking at misc tablets for the last week. From what I gather it appears that most of the lower end units run on Android. It would seem that this is a rather poor operating system in that you have to spend as much time with it as you do enjoying the device. Similar to PC's before Windows replaced DOS.
    Who has time for that? If we all drove Yugo's to work we would all be late.
    Is there an Android based tablet that is hassle free? No quirks etc. It just works day in and day out?

    At this point it seems like the HP with WebOS is the way to go. I know that there being discontinued but it really looks like the better tablet all in all.
    s.zollars@...
  • HP was saying that there would be a new shipment of tablets on the market....the price is the issue....since HP slashed its price of the tablet it flew off the shelves...i was the unfortunate idiot that paid 399US for it but still i like the unit....its cool and its not an apple product...i find that all these new technologies are a bit quirky and require some time for you to play around with them and figure out how to use it to your advantage....from this article however i hope webos gets sold soon and they start more developments for it because my tablet is cool but with cool aps it could be so much cooler :) If you manage to pick one up for 100$ or even 200$ thats a great buy....i reckon they will not be terribly expensive. check out some youtube sites to see it in action..,...good luck :)
    ruy hyabusa